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Woodbridge Wilderness Area restoration a success

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Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011 12:00 am

The Woodbridge Wilderness Area is a San Joaquin County Regional Park. It is a natural riparian area with access to the Mokelumne River. It is the home to many rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals. It offers trail walks, fishing, swimming; and opportunities abound for educational learning of the natural plant and animal life.

It was closed and not maintained for over three years due to a lack of funding. The area became overgrown with invasive plants. Trails once used to enjoy the natural beauty were consumed by brush and tall grass. Grapevines and wild berry bushes (called ladder fuel) began climbing the valley oaks and other trees. Parks and Rec. didn't want it, the Board of Supervisors couldn't fund it; some citizens complained about it, but some believed it was worth restoring.

A year ago, two women got together, set up a restoration plan for the area and presented it to the Board of Supervisors. They were granted permission to open the area one weekend a month and make their plan work. One year and hundreds of community service hours later, with help from volunteer from ages six to 70, the Woodbridge Fire Explorer Post 718 and from those who knew where the trails once were, the area is now ready for the public.

This group of volunteers and the service they provided has saved more than $15,000 dollars to the taxpayers. The restoration is an ongoing effort. However, today there is a place for families and individuals to enjoy fishing, hiking, the plants, the trees and the animals. It shows what a difference two people can make to better their community.

Thank you to all who have joined in this effort, especially Fire Chief Butler and the Woodbridge Fire Explorer Post 718 for teaching us about fire prevention, and to the Board of Supervisors for the opportunity to show you what we can do.

Mary Avanti

Woodbridge

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