22 June 2021

Monthly Adventures of an R.A.

Written by: Leandrew Escobedo

Hey y'all,

My name is Leandrew Escobedo and I'm an RA in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Though I was born and raised relatively close to the Angeles National Forest, I had only been to the Azusa Canyon once prior to working there. I was ready for an exciting new start as my ultimate career goal is to have a permanent position with the Forest Service or Park Service. My first day didn't disappoint as my coworker Connor and I started off by joining a portion of the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps at Coldbrook Campground. We were tasked with cutting back the weeds and grasses from the side of the roads and around campsites by about 5ft.

Once we finished up at Coldbrook we headed back to the Rincon Fire Station where we check-in every day, but on our way there we came across a car that flew off the side of the road. Connor had just been informing me about how there are numerous car incidents that occur throughout the canyon and the procedure of calling in an accident when we're the first on scene. After we spoke to the driver and their friends, we called for an ambulance, CHP, and a tow truck. We waited about three hours while speaking to the CHP officers and then we eventually got to Rincon where I found out the true nature of our job in Azusa Canyon.

There seems to be a big issue with vandalism and trash/waste mismanagement in the canyon. In fact graffiti can be seen from the bottom of the canyon upwards to Mount Baldy. As recreation techs, we get the pleasure of repainting and cleaning every bathroom nearly every day. Don't get me wrong though, I've actually come to enjoy these tasks as I'm surrounded by amazing coworkers. We have a great bond amongst each other as we fight the never-ending battle of graffiti and trash. On top of that we've come to see the importance of our job in helping to keep the wilderness wild and not just a landfill. Another coworker of mine, Estephany, happens to have a background in interpretive work and spoke with me about possibly organizing an event for Latino Conservation Week that could either be a clean up or educational day with a local conservation/environmental group or even other organizations.

Though it wasn't what I was expecting, I'm really enjoying my job and am looking forward to the rest of the season.


Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Angeles National Forest

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