The VWA effort to restore the wilderness character of the Willow Creek drainage is an excellent example of the organization’s ability to embrace and successfully complete large-scale stewardship projects. The project began in 1999 with the “discovery” of approximately three tons of trash by VWA volunteers who were surveying the area for possible wilderness designation. That wilderness designation became a reality with passage of the 2002 Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act which included the 8,400 acre Willow Creek addition to the Silver Peak Wilderness Area.
In 2002, the VWA received a grant from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Research Institute Employees Conservation Fund to conduct the required biological and archeological studies to secure Forest Service approval for the project. Once the necessary NEPA work was completed and approval of the project was secured, a diverse group of volunteers led by current VWA President Tom Hopkins completed the multi-faceted project in 2004.
We encourage you to watch Return to Wilderness, an inspirational 28-minute documentary video of the VWA-led Willow Creek Clean-Up Project, for the complete story.