'Pristine' parkland in Santa Monica Mountains has become a dump, residents say

Carlos Granda Image
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
Pristine area in Santa Monica Mountains becoming a dump, residents say
An area along Deer Creek Road in Ventura County offers spectacular ocean views, but residents say the area is being trashed.

Residents who live near the Santa Monica Mountains say the area is being used as a dumping ground.

The ocean view from the mountains is spectacular - the image many have of the Pacific Ocean. But if you look down you see graffiti and trash.

A resident who reached out to Eyewitness News says it's embarrassing and it's destroying the environment.

"This trash over here, you can see, it was dumped six months ago. It hasn't been removed," said the resident, who didn't want to be identified.

The area is along Deer Creek Road in Ventura County. Two years ago, the 1,300-acre property was acquired by the Trust for Public Land for the Santa Monica Mountains National Reserve.

The resident who spoke to Eyewitness News says she thought the area would be preserved.

"This is the last of the pristine area of the Santa Monica Mountains. And this is what you see - mattress dumps, construction dump, human feces, and we keep calling and nothing is happening," she said.

There was evidence someone started a fire there. Residents worry that something like a fire could spread, and the entire area would go up in flames.

"If you'll notice some of the brush is non-indigenous. It catches fire real fast... It's just a matter of moments when somebody throws a cigarette out," the resident said.

Eyewitness News tried to get a response from the Santa Monica Mountains National Reserve, but so far they've not responded. Residents say they've tried and nothing got done. They say they will keep fighting for the land.

Alex Size, the Southern California conservation director for the Trust for Public Land, issued the following statement to Eyewitness News:

"The Deer Creek Beach property is a remarkable 1,241-acre expanse of oceanfront hillside with two miles of coastal beachfront along Highway 1, but when Trust for Public Land (TPL) took over title and temporary stewardship to the Deer Creek Beach property in late 2022, TPL inherited several areas affected by illegal dumping. In 2023, TPL invested over five-figures to clean up these areas, which involved the removal of a double-wide trailer, multiple abandoned cars, an RV, various trash and what appeared to be an illegal farming operation.

"In that time, 2023, TPL partnered with the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) to become co-owners of the Deer Creek Beach property. Together, TPL and MRCA have been diligently monitoring the property and conducting regular debris removal efforts to maintain the site. TPL is committed to preserving and protecting this valuable natural resource, ensuring it remains an unspoiled and enjoyable environment for all until it can be transferred to the National Park Service for protection and stewardship."