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GREAT HIKES: Help Restore Our Local Mountain Trails:

Okay, so you’ve been enjoying many of the great hikes I’ve been describing in this column, and now you are ready to reciprocate! This is your big chance to enjoy our trails and really contribute to the health and beauty of our local mountain parks.

Trailwork! Yes, you are invited to participate in the exciting and satisfying pastime of working on our local Santa Monica trails. No experience is necessary, no great skills required – just the willingness to follow directions and help out.

On Saturday morning, November 19, there are three trailwork choices. First, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council will lead you on a six-hour work adventure. It promises that this is nothing like a chain-gang, but rather a morning with friendly folks working together at a comfortable pace with plenty of water, lunch and conversational breaks. Call (818) 222-4531 for the full details (including several alternative future dates).

At the very same time and day, the good folks from the Sierra Club are supervising a five-hour trailwork adventure. They urge you to call (310) 559-3126 to sign up – and remind you to bring gloves, water and lunch. Tools and instruction are provided free of charge.

If five hours is still too big a commitment, the Malibu Creek State Park is offering a three hour, 9:00a.m.-12 noon “Oak Care Day,” where you’ll learn good arboreal practice and help our native flora. I’m not exactly sure what it means, but the sponsors also note that your volunteering qualifies for community service credit. Call the folks at the Mountain Restoration Trust at (818) 591-1701 ext. 203 for the full story.

If all of these organized work-adventures are too much for you to take on, here’re a couple of simpler suggestions: Just go for one hike on any local trail and make it a point to not leave anything behind other than a footprint. Better yet, bring a small bag and help pick-up the soda cans and other stuff that less considerate folks failed to tote out. One short working hike will really make a difference in the preservation of our natural terrain and enhance your appreciation of how extraordinary our Santa Monica Mountain lands are.Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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