State and national parks officials recently found approximately 3,500 marijuana plants in a 9.6-acre section of the Santa Monica Mountains near Trancas Canyon in Malibu. The discovery was made in late June, and officials have worked for the past two weeks to clear the plants and nearly a ton of trash, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the National Park Service. “Herbicides, pesticides, rodent fencing, two miles of plastic water hose and fertilizer were all found at the site,” the press release states. “Water was being diverted from a nearby creek to irrigate the plants and native vegetation had been cut down to make room for the grow sites.”
These features were included in other marijuana sites found in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to the NPS. The marijuana growing season is approximately April to November. “Marijuana cultivation is a serious and rising problem in the Santa Monica Mountains and other parklands across the country,” said Woody Smeck, superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “The environmental damage caused by marijuana cultivation in otherwise pristine natural areas costs approximately $12,000 per acre to clean up.”
No arrests have been made, National Park Service spokeswoman Lauren Newman said. The NPS is the lead investigator and is working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The NPS says marijuana plantations are usually found in remote places that are difficult to access. Those venturing in the Santa Monica Mountains can avoid them by staying on the trails, the NPS advises. “The public can help by reporting any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials,” the press release states. “Suspicious activity includes drip irrigation lines lying next to or in streams, collections of supplies and food left at roadside pullouts and piles of seedling cartons, food cartons, propane tanks and camping equipment in unusual locations.”
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