Group vows to keep Kern County clean, sees results

It's estimated that 50,000 people camped in the Kern River Valley during Memorial Day weekend.

Keepers of the Kern, a group dedicated to keeping the area in pristine condition, said there is some good news.  Many volunteers with the group spent this week picking up trash campers left  behind.

"People are getting the message. The trash was about 60% less than previous years," said Rex Hinkey.

The group said the success is due in part to awareness and dozens of donated dumpsters and porta-potties placed in several campsites.

However, the group says there's more work that needs to be done.

"Today I drove up to Corral Creek and managed to pick up several bags of trash in about an hour," said Tressa Lee.

Additionally, they said, there is less trust to pick up because the forest service restricted camping on several parts of the river between designated campgrounds.

"All of these things added up are making a difference," said Hinkey.

Even though the group says Memorial Day weekend was a success, their work in keeping the river clean is only beginning.

Keepers of the Kern say the trash season usually runs between May and September.

"We started picking up trash and raising awareness last October. Our focus is to stay ahead of the game, every week we are out here picking up trash. We are hoping by the end of the season people are well-educated and trashing the Kern River will be a thing of the past," said Lee.

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