From the field: My land was invaded by pot growers
I have family property between Healdsburg and Guerneville off Sweetwater Springs Road.
Porter Creek runs through my lower property. The creek is a fish bearing stream as are other creeks off remote, hilly landscapes. Fish biologists have done fish counts on Porter Creek, The property by the house where I grew up on Mt. Jackson was sold when my Dad died at the young age of 63. I keep my remaining property undeveloped.
The illegal pot growing on my property started probably in the 90’s with workers being dropped off on Sweetwater Springs Rd. They would hike up my property to remote areas with springs. They would camp there all summer. The narcotics dept of Sonoma County eventually had a CAMP program to pull up plants in remote areas —but never to arrest the trespassers who knew that and they just hid. So I was left with garbage, toxics, rat traps, miles of plastic drip system lines, dammed up tributaries, tapped springs, camps with sleeping bags, kitchen areas, etc. On the ridge was a different story. A fellow living on the Palmer Creek side would grow on my property (no evidence of anyone sleeping there as he would hike in or use his ATV to return back home with his worker bees. He left at least 50 plastic barrels used to store water for the grows. ( that area was water scarce), plastic drip lines, pumps, etc. He even dug out a rectangular area used to catch winter rains. (lots of plastic there) I have a serpentine area with rare plants and vegetation & a cedar grove. All is a preserve. However this upper property is next to a property that has been invaded by growers ( some were previous trespassers –others out of state and county) wishing to obtain a county permit for a commercial grow all the while continuing to grow pot (at least a 1000 plants) with trucked in water, noisy generators (no electricity) at least two trucked in trailers for workers, etc. The county had originally asked them to stop but then it seems they backed down.
I do have a lawyer—they have ignored letters. They trespassed on my old jeep trail and used a tractor to grade a road, (taking out water bars for winter rains) cut down trees, shrubs, etc and left them in piles that are a fire hazard. The former jeep road that for my 77 years on this planet never had dust, now is dusty and negatively impacted. I was so upset that I haven’t returned as that property is no longer a quiet, peaceful place for me to walk and enjoy the area. I luckily have neighbors on the Palmer Creek side who have been a huge help. There have been locked gates put in and more will be added. None of this is what I deserve in my old age. I do understand your situation.
The pot growers are united with piles of $$$ and lawyers behind them. The Redwood Empire is now Pot and Wine Country.