Trash Warrior Accomplishments 2020
Keepers of the Kern were totally unprepared for what transpired in 2020. We, like so many others, were caught off guard when the public showed up to recreate on the Wild and Scenic Kern River and Isabella Lake by the thousands. This occurred during week days and not just on weekends or holidays, which posed a much bigger problem for Forest Service staff, volunteers and the public.
It was an unprecedented, record setting occurrence to say the least. Never in our seven years have we experienced such a situation, so much trash and human waste, an over abundance of vegetation damage and a very unfriendly attitude from so many. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic and then fires and extreme wildfire smoke… it set us back as far as many of our goals were concerned. However, we must praise the volunteers of the organization on their performance and dedication. Thanks to them, we got it done.
Campgrounds were closed off and on during the season, which restricted our activities. We were set to get out and clean up after Labor Day…Nope…CLOSED. We assisted the Forest Service in consolidating and moving trash the day after Labor Day when everything closed. It all had to wait; public safety came first.
The restrictions and requirements set forth for the COVID-19 pandemic were carried out without so much as a whine from our volunteers. Gloves, masks, sanitizer and any other protective gear needed to protect ourselves. All but one of our eight fundraising events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Putting a serious strain on our annual budget. However, thanks to so many loyal financial supporters and a small grant, we made it through the end of the year in the black.
Despite all the hurdles we had to jump over, our volunteer numbers grew, which, is quite amazing considering what was taking place. People stepped right up, whether it was joining the group in clean up events or going out on their own to help reduce the impact of excessive trash on the roadways, neighborhoods, parking lots, parks and day use areas.
We were awarded the “Non-Profit of the Year” for Kern County and the Adopt-A-Campground project was once again a success. There were 20 portables, 17 dumpsters and one roll off dumpster sponsored by organizations, businesses and individuals. These facilities were placed over and above what the U.S. Forest Service supplies and were so much needed considering the number of visitors to all the campgrounds and day use areas.
Keepers of the Kern may not have been able to complete some of the goals listed in our Strategy Plan, but we feel our performance and accomplishments were at the top, considering the situation. We are looking forward to a more ‘normal’ season this year, whatever that normal may turn out to be.