The Cambrian

Fiscalini site produces big trash haul for Coastal Cleanup Day

Volunteers carry garbage out of Pirate’s Cove, which produced the most trash of any San Luis Obispo County site on Coastal Cleanup Day.
Volunteers carry garbage out of Pirate’s Cove, which produced the most trash of any San Luis Obispo County site on Coastal Cleanup Day.

Volunteers hauled in hundreds of pounds of trash and recycling — including some odd items — from North Coast shorelines Saturday, Sept. 16, during the 33rd annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.

One of the most impressive hauls was the 455 pounds of garbage collected along the Marine Terrace and Bluff Trail areas of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and along Santa Rosa Creek.

Team captain Holly Sletteland of Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch said 20 clean-up volunteers participated there, “including folks who came all the way from Paso (Robles) and four young kids, which was nice.”

Their 455-pound trash total was the fifth largest in any reporting site countywide, according to a Sept. 16 media release from event sponsor ECOSLO. Sletteland said the most frequently found items were cigarette butts and food wrappers.

Collectors at Pirate’s Cove took top honors with 975 pounds. (The cove area has been in the news lately because of trash, damage and many other maintenance and safety issues there.)

Other top trash hauls in the county included 879 pounds at Arroyo Grande Creek, 870 pounds at Montaña de Oro and sand spit, and 488 pounds at Oceano Dunes.

The coastline along Fiscalini Ranch Preserve “was very clean, and we would have been under 10 pounds if that was all we did,” Sletteland said in an email interview the following day.

However, some team members volunteered to clean along the creekbed, “and that was where the vast majority of the trash was found. A lot of it was really funky stuff from abandoned homeless encampments that had washed into the creek,” such as soggy sleeping bags, soaked clothing and, sadly, saturated children’s books. Sletteland said the latter “suggested that kids may have been living in there.”

She said the trash-collecting volunteers also found tires, a wooden pallet, construction debris, “a single stiletto boot and an artificial tree.”

Bob Putney, who was among those collecting discards at San Simeon Creek Day Use and Beach area, said volunteers found sparkplugs, “a vehicle suspension coil spring and a portion of the front axle of a car with a disc brake.”

Greenspace — The Cambria Land Trust volunteers (45 adults and eight children) collected 28 trash bags of garbage totaling 83 pounds, plus 20 pounds of recycling from their areas along the Santa Rosa Creek lagoon overlook area on Moonstone Beach Drive, according to team captain Dave Bidwell and Greenspace Executive Director Connie Gannon.

They said items found there included 1,393 cigarette butts, a bag of toys, a bra and an artificial fingernail.

Gannon said, “It was a beautiful day, with a lovely wedding and reception being prepped at the south end of the beach. Now our part of the coast is cleared, before the fall/winter storms begin.”