Friday, December 16, 2016
If you are familiar with Hare Creek Beach, then you know firsthand the amazing transformation that has taken place. In fact, it can be hard to recognize the path down to the beach from photos taken only a few years ago. Back then, the land was dominated by aggressive invasive species: towering Scotch broom, stinging nettles and creeping Himalayan blackberry vines leading down to a beach choked with ice plant.
Locals and visitors alike can now enjoy a leisurely stroll down the trail leading to the wide, sandy beach without a second thought as to how impossible that may have seemed, at first, to those who cleared the way. It took years of effort and hours of work to make this trail a reality and none of it would be possible without the dedication of a handful of tireless volunteers. That is why we want to shine a spotlight on one of Hare Creek's original and continuing champions: Lenny Noack.
Lenny is a self-proclaimed country girl whose heart thrives in nature, so when the Hare Creek property so close to her home was acquired in 2010 by the Mendocino Land Trust, she knew she had a good fit. “I have a simple focus,” she says. “The only agenda is weeds. The only battle is one between myself and Scotch broom, or Himalayan blackberry, ice plant, ivy, wild radish and nettles. The nettles and brambles sometimes fight back, but the results are very rewarding.”
After years of single-minded determination to eliminate the invasive plants, Lenny is proud to see, very clearly, how the slow and steady work has made a real difference, “Where the Gordon McBride bench is, there used to be an entire Scotch broom forest. Nary a one there now, as I focus on pushing the Himalayan berries into oblivion. And near the top of the trail, at the gate, was only a narrow passageway through Scotch broom and Himalayan vines. Not anymore! Not to mention all (yes, all!) the ice plant removed from the beach.”
While many hands, groups and organizations have helped restore Hare Creek Beach over the last six years, it is only through the efforts of steadfast volunteers, like Lenny, that we can appreciate the transformation and maintain it.
When asked what she wants to achieve in the future, Lenny hopes that sharing her story “might inspire someone to come join the Hare Creek crew, be it once or often. We meet on the trail the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting. Do come join us!”
To learn more about Hare Creek Beach, click here.