September Stewardship Update
& Highlights

The dog days of summer are here, and our Trail Ambassadors are out and about
 doing a doggone good job!

Whether it’s picking up trash, working with the Athenian School, or heading out on trips with our Forest Service partners, August has been one heck of a month for our Stewardship team. Here are some of the highlights of the month:

  • Lindsay and I (Stewardship Director Alex Ertaud) got to head into French Canyon, just over Pine Creek Pass and the Sierra Crest to spend four days working alongside Tim Crosby and Michael Sax from the Sierra National Forest. Tim is a Wilderness Ranger, and Michael is a Ranger Intern, and they showed Lindsay and I the ins and outs of campsite inventory. We walked the area around lakes Elba, Moon, and L, hunting for campsites to document so the agency can have a clear idea and record of how these lands are being used. In the process, we packed out over forty pounds of trash from campsites. Some truly odd items were packed out, including a pair of shoes, discarded clothes, many-hundred pieces of glass, and a mason jar filled with what appeared to be bacon fat (we dared not investigate any further). It was a great week of work made possible by a grant from the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

  • Lindsay has been busy in the Mammoth Lakes Basin picking up trash, eliminating illegal fire rings, doing trail maintenance, and educating the public on Leave No Trace best practices. The Lakes Basin is a well-loved area by visitors and locals alike, and so we focus on giving the love back to the area that needs it so. Here you can see her packing out a great deal of trash she found on a trip to Barney Lake. Truly remarkable! A big thanks goes to the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Lakes Recreation who support our work in Mammoth through their Measure U grant funding.


  • Finally, I got to spend another two days working with students from the Athenian School. As mentioned in last month’s updates, these students are on a 26-day wilderness experience through our beautiful public lands, and we have the honor of meeting them for service projects. This time, Wilderness Ranger Tsipora Prochovnick joined us as we restored some campsites that were too close to water and/or trail along the Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails, where they meet Rush Creek. It was another great trip with thoughtful, enthusiastic students and really gives me hope for the future of our public lands stewards!

There you have it. And that’s just a small sampling of what we’ve been up to! With another couple of months until the snow falls in earnest, we’ll be out there working hard to care for our public lands, and the trails, meadows, critters, and flowers therein.


Comments (2)

Hi Alex, this is David Laughton in Mammoth. Many thanks to you and Lindsay for all the work that Trail Ambassadors have been doing. I retired to Mammoth from Denali Park, Alaska after 35 years as a Wildlife Tour Guide along the Denali Park Road. Those were great years, I raised my daughters in Anchorage and Denali. Alaska was very good to us. Mammoth is a good fit for me, I describe it as Alaska scenery with California weather. In June and July this year I managed 8 backpacking trips for a total of five weeks in the backcountry. Cottonwood Lakes, Miter Basin, Piute, Desolation, Granite Park, Royce Lakes and so much more. While the landscape is always impressive, as you well know, the pandemic resulted astoundingly high use. It was heartbreaking to see all the evidence of fires in areas where they are not permitted, trash in impacted campsites, etc. What you and Lindsay do to help restore and maintain our unmatched and beloved high country is just the kind of work I would like to support. I made a contribution to Friends of the Inyo that inadvertently went to the Conglomerate Mesa project. Although that is a completely worthwhile concern for Friends, my heart is really with your Trail Ambassadors program. If there is any way to redirect those funds to Trail Ambassadors, please make it happen. Thanks again for all you and Lindsay do. D

Thanks David! It’s great to hear from you, and I’m glad you want to support our Trail Ambassador campaign. I’ve updated your donation to apply to our trail ambassador fund. Thank you again for supporting our public lands and our important work.

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