Kern River Conservancy cleans up

Photos by Gary Ananian / Kern River Conservancy
It was a beautiful day to be on the wild and scenic Kern River on Saturday, July 14, as Kern River Conservancy teamed up with friends from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers – California and Southern Sierra Fly Fishers for a quick river cleanup on the North Fork where they pulled in nearly 20 bags of trash and passed out 50 trash bags to campers in hopes that they use it to cleanup and pack out their trash.

By Elise Modrovich
Special to the Sun

Last week, the Kern River Conservancy (KRC) coordinated a large scale joint effort with the United States Forest Service (USFS) to clean out the muck and trash buildup in the Lower Kern River, and by all accounts, it was a huge success. KRC volunteers were joined by several ranking USFS personnel, including the new Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson, District Ranger Al Watson, Public Relations Officer Alicia Embrey, and Recreation Officer Tricia Maki, who all rolled up their sleeves and jumped in rafts to lend a hand getting the Lower Kern spic and span. Local rafting companies Whitewater Voyages, Mountain River Adventures, Kern River Outfitters, and Kern River Tours all donated the 10 rafts and skilled guides needed to accomplish the challenging task of carrying more than 30 volunteers over 20 miles of river that stretched from Keyesville Campgrounds to the Democrat Day Use site.

By the end of the day, more than 600 pounds of trash was pulled out of the waters and riverside beaches by the KRC volunteers, USFS personnel, raft guides and even individual kayakers who participated in the endeavor.

“This was a great partnership model of private, non-profit and our federal government working together to achieve a common goal: a clean and pristine Kern River,” said Gary Ananian, KRC’s Founder and Executive Director, who led the charge.

Ananian was also quick to thank BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, who drove up from Bakersfield to donate the pizzas that fed all the hungry river trash warriors.

Buoyed by the event’s success, Ananian plans to coordinate more of these events in the future to help fulfill KRC’s vision of protecting and keeping the Wild and Scenic Kern River healthy so that many generations to come can enjoy and experience all it has to offer. To find out more about the Conservancy and how you can help them take action, go to their website at