August 16, 2013

Massive Illegal Campsite and Marijuana Grow Cleanup Launched

The illegal campsite cleanup in the Pasatiempo Creek was launched this morning.   

There are 3 people who deserve credit for spearheading and organizing this cleanup effort, Lieutenant Dan Flippo, Sergeant Mike Medina, and Parks Chief Ranger Heather Reiter.  Thanks to each of your for your commitment and long hours dedicated to this effort.  

The cleanup was also bolstered by the following:

9 Police Officers
2 CSO’s
7 Park Rangers
16 crew from Labor Ready
8 Caltrans
2 First Alarm

Due to the scale of the cleanup, it has been weeks in the planning.  The overall campsite covered just over 3 acres of land and consisted of more than 20 individual campsites.   

By mid-day the two 40-yard dumpsters were nearing capacity and there was much more to go.  The campsite is sitting on property that is neither city or Caltrans owned, but rather owned by two different homeowners associations.

Officers and cleanup crews found the campsite was filled with trash and filth.  Cleanup costs may exceed our original $15,000 estimate. 

A significant collection of bicycles and parts were strewn throughout the campsite.  

On Wednesday, Officers served a trespass warning notice to the occupants.  While in the camp Wednesday, officers discovered a sizeable marijuana grown in several parts of the site.  We removed hundreds of marijuana plants at that time.  The “farmers” were terracing into the hillside and clearing vegetation for their garden.   

Additionally, they were diverting water from the Pasatiempo Creek.

Speaking of the creek, pollution and trash were discarded into this area, damaging a fish habitat.

This was the most extensive and built-in campsite we have seen in recent years.  It is clear these individuals were exploiting and damaging this area for a significant time-period.  An effort such as this will be a long-term maintenance project for the Police and Parks teams.