Topanga Trash Warriors Honored

On Tuesday, September 18, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors presented a special certificate honoring Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors.

“Every Sunday, rain or shine, the Topanga Trash Warriors go up and down the boulevard collecting trash that would otherwise end up in Topanga Creek or the Pacific Ocean,” wrote Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, following the event.

“Since the group’s founding in 2016, these dedicated volunteers have collected three  tons of trash! Their work is already inspiring citizens to form their own Trash Warrior groups, from Calabasas to Cameroon, Africa. I was proud to honor these individuals who work hard each week to brighten the corner where they are. Go Topanga Trash Warriors!

On behalf of the group, Joseph Rosendo made a statement:

When Roger and I started picking up trash from Topanga Canyon Boulevard almost three years and three tons of garbage ago, things were very different in Topanga. Our community’s relationship with Caltrans was at best mixed, the Adopt-a-Highway program had been suspended for more than 10 years, the urbanization of Topanga Canyon Boulevard was in full swing and “Our Main Street” was a mess.  

Things have changed. Thanks to the efforts of the Topanga Chamber of Commerce, the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community, Supervisor Kuehl and her staff, we now have a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with Caltrans. 

Last year, a section of TCB was designated by Caltrans as the first California Scenic Highway in Los Angeles County in 46 years and the Adopt-A-Highway program was reinstated. Most recently that collaboration between Caltrans and Topanga community organizations, businesses and residents produced the smoothest and least obstructive boulevard closure for emergency road repair work in memory.

The Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors, which predates these events, has grown from 2 to 20 and has inspired spin-off groups from Calabasas to Cameroon, Africa. Our completely volunteer group is made up of dedicated Topangans who love Topanga and “Our Main Street” and are willing to brave rain, wind, heat, and speeding traffic in order to make our rounds Sunday mornings starting at 7 a.m.  (Come join us!)

The group has developed strong community support from Topanga residents and businesses, especially the Inn of the Seventh Ray, where, through the generosity of owner Lucille Yaney, the Warriors are provided a Sunday breakfast at the end of our three-hour shift. During the ensuing “ Trash Talk,” the Warriors discuss Topanga’s issues, spread “community spirit” and, incidentally, solve the world’s problems.  

The Warriors’ partnership with Caltrans through the Adopt-a-Highway program and other efforts is a prime example of government and community working together to create Community—the foundation of all things.  

The Topanga Canyon Boulevard Trash Warriors are a personification of the words of anthropologist, Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

  Thank you for honoring us as a group and our most devoted and dedicated members as individuals.

Rosendo told the Messenger Mountain News that the group hopes that the proclamation will find a permanent home at either at the Topanga Library or the Post Office.

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