Members Tell Us What They Think - Summary of findings from 2018 Survey (click here to download tabulations).
On November 12, 2018 we began an online survey of members and friends of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy for whom we had email addresses (N=523). We followed up three weeks later by a mailing to non-respondents and additional member households for whom we did not have email addresses. By the close of our survey in January, 2019, a total of 180 persons responded, either electronically (N=105) or by sending in their survey through the mail (N=65).
Respondents report close contact with Claremont Canyon by hiking in, driving through, or just viewing the landscape from their homes. A hearty group (32%) report hiking the trails weekly or more, with an additional 28% who hike occasionally throughout the year. About a half of our respondents drive a car through the canyon often (once a week or more) and many (70%) view the canyon from their work or home.
Interest in Conservancy Goals:
Members show considerable interest in the Conservancy’s three main goals: fire safety (98% report interest), ecological health/natural resources (87%), and public access/trails maintenance (96%).
A high percentage (95%) of our members say they are in favor of the management of invasive, fire-prone, exotic weeds along roadsides and trails: 85% strongly support, with another 10% saying “it’s OK.” Conservancy stewardship events are carried out by our volunteers several times a month in various locations throughout the canyon.
While 78% say they are interested in learning about/exploring birds and wildlife, only 29% reported a strong interest, 49% were fairly interested, and 18% were not interested. The Conservancy supports occasional nature walks and workshops led by experts and have done so since our founding in 2001.
Members express support for creek and watershed work (96%) on the canyon’s Harwood Creek (sometimes called Claremont Creek), such as headwater and tributary clean-up on Earth Day in April or Creek-to-Bay day in September.
Approximately 88% of respondents support building new trails for greater public access (41% strongly support while 47% mildly support), like our connector trail between UC’s Willow Trail and the Park District’s Norfolk Trail. Another 12% are unsure about the Conservancy building new trails.
Litter patrols received good support from members (93%): 57% strongly support litter patrols while 36% say “it’s OK.”
Members are somewhat in favor of improving roadside turnouts, something we have not yet instigated, with 37% strongly supporting and 49% saying “it’s OK.” Another 14% are unsure about the Conservancy taking on the role of improving roadside turnouts.
Support for Landowner/Agency Projects:
Approximately 87% of members are in favor of removal of most eucalyptus trees in Claremont Canyon. While the Conservancy advocates passive restoration mostly, that is enabling native plants and trees to move in on their own once exotics are cleared, our members are in favor (93%) of replanting eucalyptus removal areas with native trees. (Our former six-year program of planting redwood seedlings in eucalyptus removal areas on UC land in the upper canyon was completed in 2008.) A high percentage of members (95%) also supports buffer zone work for fire safety: 82% strongly support and 13% say “it’s OK.”
The Conservancy is eager to work with the public agencies on their lands and help them obtain grants and pursue line items in their budgets for weed management and restoration work. About 95% of members support the Conservancy’s working with the public agencies to encourage them, as much as possible, to accomplish Conservancy goals.
Fuel Reduction Canyon Wide:
Some of our members advocate reducing all fuels on public lands throughout Claremont Canyon for fire safety reasons (53% strongly support this while 22% don’t support or are uncertain about a canyon-wide approach). 95% support removal/reduction of non-native plants.
Herbicide use on Eucalyptus:
When asked about applying herbicide to cut eucalyptus stumps to prevent them from re-sprouting, 80% were in favor of this approach, while 8% said to never use herbicides, and 12% said they don’t know.
When asked how they feel about the possibility of controlled burns being conducted in and around Claremont Canyon, 27% said that it is very important to do this regularly for wildfire safety, 51% would support such efforts only rarely and under the right climate conditions,14% said that it is too dangerous to even attempt, and 8% didn’t know.
PG&E’s Wildfire Prevention Policy
PG&E announced in July of 2018 its new policy of shutting off electricity to homes during risky wildfire weather (high winds, low humidity) to reduce chances of ignitions from downed power lines. When asked, 72% of our members said that loss of power is worth it to save lives and property, 12% said loss of power is an unacceptable risk, and 17% said they don’t know. Our survey was conducted shortly after the devastating Camp Fire in the late fall 2018, the record-breaking worst wildfire season yet in California history. Earlier in 2018, Cal Fire authorities had announced that 12 of the 16 the nearly-as-devastating 2017 California wildfires were attributed to downed power lines.