Marijuana grow site cleanup project planned in Mendocino National Forest Jan. 5-9

A cleanup effort targeting abandoned illegal marijuana grow sites in the Mendocino National Forest’s Upper Lake Ranger District will take place from Thursday, Jan. 5, through Monday, Jan. 9. The effort is part of the Mendocino National Forest Grow-site Reclamation Project, which is supported, in part, by county funding granted at the recommendation of the Lake County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Committee and in cooperation with the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew. Abandoned illegal marijuana grow sites on public lands have caused major devastation to the environment. When a grow site is discovered by law enforcement, they remove the marijuana and any weapons, but the sites are left primarily intact because of a lack of manpower to do a full cleanup.

These sites often include miles of irrigation tubing, pesticides, piles of trash, water diversions, temporary living quarters and erosion. The sites also can be a major impediment in developing safe trails and the public’s unrestricted use of natural resources and public lands, according to the Konocti Regional Trail Team. In order to fill this void and help restore public lands back to their natural state, the Mendocino National Forest Grow-site Reclamation Project, coordinated by Bruce Hilbach, has been organizing cleanups in Mendocino County. The group recently announced planned operation dates for cleaning up marijuana grow sites in the Upper Lake District of the Mendocino National Forest.

All volunteer groups are escorted and assisted by at least one law enforcement official at all times. Volunteer safety is of the highest priority. Volunteers will cleanup and bag trash and debris from the grow sites and leave it onsite. The Mendocino National Forest Rangers will coordinate pickup of the bags at a later time, often by helicopter. Weather permitting, work will begin on Thursday, Jan. 5, with most of the action taking place from Friday, Jan. 6, through Sunday, Jan. 8. If necessary, mopup will take place on Monday, Jan. 9, Konocti Regional Trails reported.

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