When the volunteers arrived Saturday morning at Mentryville to clear brush away from the historical buildings and old schoolhouse, they were met by park rangers who informed them the event would need to be rescheduled.
“The event that was scheduled today was to basically do weed pulling because there’s a lot of brush up there and tumbleweeds,” said Evan Decker, organizer of the event, adding the volunteers worked a bit before being asked to stop by the park rangers due to safety concerns over COVID-19 and social distancing.
Mentryville, since the early 1990s has been a site for hikers and historians to come and see an actual slice of Santa Clarita’s and America’s history.
Built around an oil well worked by Charles Alexander Mentry, Mentryville became California’s first oil boom town. The well would remain in service until it was finally capped in the 1990s.
Mentryville served as the home for the oil rig workers as well as a few others and their families. Many of the structures that have stood the test of time remain open for the public to see and visit.
Decker’s plan, since the land and the buildings are under the care of the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy and the Mountains, Recreation and Conservation authority, is to work on the area and ensure that it not only looks nice for visitors, but to also help defend it from brush fires that burn in the area.
“The brush and tumbleweeds have blown down the hill and they’re basically piled up near the buildings,” said Decker. “We’re in the middle of fire season right now and it’s just very concerning because any small ember that gets caught in those weeds, that place will go up like a matchbox.”
Decker said he plans to reschedule the cleaning event for another date, once he believes it will be safe to do so.