Nothing could stop the outpouring on behalf of the resource and our shared public space. What tried failed including the following: a rattlesnake, two new yellow jacket nests unrelated to the two treated last night, a seriously threatening protester, a chipper jammed for thirty minutes by a well-meaning volunteer, four completely disabled chain saws, several widow-making broken trees, forbiddingly steep slopes, tangles of vines and needle sharp blackberry, several tons of non- native and dead vegetation, at least three hundred pounds of human caused litter and hours of dehydrating exertion.
The combination of community assets was most impressive. Bethel Church sent an inspired legion including four professionals, two from remote locations including the Ukraine.
Rotary Club of Redding and two other Rotary clubs were there to support the cause.
City of Redding was present in three essential departments: Community Services, Redding Electric Utility with chipper and a crew as well as vital Police support.
Western Shasta Resource Conservation District sent a needed trailer, truck and driver. McConnell Foundation donated a valuable chipper, an impressively important 4×4 hauling vehicle and a hard working crew of at least four which stayed until 2 p.m., two hours after quitting time for almost everyone else.
Juvenile Hall sent an entire squad of diligent workers with a supervisor. Jeff Haynes paid and worked with his staff of landscape professionals numbering at least half a dozen using valuable equipment.
They fully exposed from towering and choking Himalayan blackberry a precious lagoon and pond unseen and unused for many decades. Ed Tam and newspaper came to record the event. The general community was there with youth and adults of all ages and abilities to fight for the restoration of a riparian savanna along a lovely stretch of the Sacramento River near the center of Redding.
The California Conservation Corps completed a whole section by themselves bringing equipment, another chipper and uncovering another long forgotten swale.
More than two hundred people were there to help in tasks from registration and safety to hauling water, cutting brush and operating dangerous equipment. This was not the largest turn out in the series, but only the 2.5 mile 2009 effort rivals the chip production.
Nothing has cleared as much entangled jungle. Nothing previously has opened as much long lost river frontage to safe passage, use and enjoyable viewing.
Personal thanks seem so inadequate. Only the recovered property speaks with enough eloquence to match the valor and worth of today’s spirited and inspiring workers.
Hopefully, those who came will always remember what was achieved and those who see the North Sacramento River Trail in coming days will be astonished what can be accomplished in a single day of honest work.
Report by “Private Creeky” aka Randy Smith. Photos by Ed Tam
Randy Smith is a retired physician who’s dedicated countless volunteer hours as a member of the City of Redding Planning Commission, Redding Rotary Club of the Redding Stream Team and untold other community projects.