Illegal dumping deterred, by Joe Engbeck

In past years, Claremont Canyon was often used as a dumping ground for small-time, fly-by-night construction contractors and others who were not willing to pay the fees charged by official dumps. Debris of all kinds—car parts, plywood, plasterboard, empty paint cans, and even a few refrigerators and sofas—ended up on the roadside or down in the creek bed below the road. One spot that was especially popular with the illegal dumping crowd was a wide spot in the road near University Sign Post 29 along Claremont Avenue. Illegal dumping continued there even after unpaid citizen volunteers associated with the Claremont Canyon Conservancy repeatedly climbed down the steep embankment and removed the accumulated junk.

To change that obnoxious and disheartening pattern of behavior, the Conservancy worked with Tom Klatt, the University’s hill area land manager, on a plan designed to simultaneously beautify the area and make it less attractive for dumping. Drilling services kindly donated in part by George Smith of Mad Dog Drilling.


The result was a new 100-foot-long roadside railing designed to keep motor vehicles from crowding right up to the edge of the embankment. The railing was constructed by Barry Pilger with help from Tom Klatt and Jerry Kent. Jon Kaufman and Joe Engbeck implemented the landscaping plan using locally-native plants: coast live oak, snowberry, coffeeberry, oso berry, alumroot, and pink-flowering wild currant. The result? So far, so good. No dumping has occurred at the site since the Conservancy completed its work there.