By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
Last Saturday’s Crestline Cleanup, despite a warning of heavy rain from the National Weather Service, attracted about 25 volunteers who met at Lake Gregory’s north shore parking lot around 9 a.m.
“A darn good gathering, considering the media’s hysterical warning of foul weather,” said former Lake Gregory Yacht Club Commodore Rick Dinon.
Dinon explained to all the volunteers that showed up that this annual event is a part of the California Coastal Commission’s annual cleanup in coastal communities up and down the state. In prior years, with the exception of 2019, due to the pandemic, the event was staged at the south shore parking lot, where volunteers walked around the entire lake picking up trash, cans, bottles, cigarette butts, fishing line and other debris. What made this year’s event different is that the cleanup occurred not only around the lake, but also included the Lake Drive business district, as well as Top Town Crestline.
Last Saturday’s cleanup day was sponsored by the Crestline Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Gregory Company, Goodwin’s Market, Lake Gregory Yacht Club and Lake Drive Ace Hardware. According to Dinon, Goodwin’s market supplied bottled water, three boxes of donuts and other breakfast pastries, while the yacht club provided grabber poles for picking up trash, Ace Hardware provided trash bags and gloves, Ace Garden Center sent three bags of daffodil bulbs and the Lake Gregory Company provided yellow and orange vests for all volunteers.
Asked how he heard about cleanup day, Crestline resident Stan Oswalt said, “They talked about it at the last Crestline-Lake Gregory Rotary Club meeting.” Though this was Oswalt’s first time participating in Crestline, he said he had previously volunteered with a Rotary Club on the island of Kauai.
Thirteen-year-old Nadia Caro from Highland, who was visiting the Thomas family in Crestline, said she learned about it on the Lake Gregory Company’s website. “I thought it would be nice to help the community and to keep it cleaned.”
At about 9:30 a.m., volunteers set out in three groups: one to clean up around the lake, one to clean up Lake Drive and another group to clean up along Crest Forest Drive in Top Town. The Alpine Mountaineer followed Pastor Bill Mellinger and longtime Crestline resident Dirk Rinker as they headed southward along Lake Gregory Drive, then north along San Moritz Drive, picking up cigarette butts, cellophane wrappers, plastic bags and other debris. Mellinger and Rinker also planted daffodil bulbs as they circumnavigated Lake Gregory.
Eight-year Crestline resident Jennifer Shapiro, who was encountered picking up trash along the street and sidewalk in front of Lake Drive Ace Hardware, said, “I enjoy giving back to the community; we’re small but mighty.” Meanwhile in Top Town, Matthew Phillippe, board chairman of the Crestline Sanitation District, commented, “It’s an honor to help keep our town clean, and where did all of this fog come from?”
By 2 p.m., when the cleanup officially ended, the sidewalks and streets of Crestline and dirt paths around Lake Gregory appeared completely devoid of trash and litter. At the end of the day, when all was said and done, Dinon told The Alpine Mountaineer that volunteers had collected 18 bags of trash, weighing a total of 263 pounds. “Most of it, 57 percent, consisted of plastic and 43 percent was paper, cigarette butts and bottle caps.” When asked if any unusual items were found, Dinon commented, “Yes, we found quite a few single-use liquor bottles in Top Town, and around the lake and other areas of Crestline we found a pair of pants, two dog sweaters, blown-off shingles, a piece of a car bumper, a car floor mat and a toilet seat.”
Dinon added, “It was a good turnout. The trails, Top Town and the village are all cleaned up, and we donated all the leftover donuts to the Fire Department.”
Volunteers showed up on the north shore of Lake Gregory on Saturday, Oct. 15 to help clean up trash throughout Crestline. (Photos by Douglas W. Motley)
Nadia Caro (L) from Highland, who was visiting the Thomas family of Crestline, was excited about volunteering to keep Crestline clean.
Crestline pastor Dr. Bill Mellinger planted daffodil bulbs while cleaning up around Lake Gregory.
Crestline volunteer Dirk Rinker picks up a plastic bag he found on the trail, across from Goodwin’s Market.
Crestline resident Jennifer Shapiro found a paper cup across the street from Ace Garden Center.