OC park rangers will step up patrols after Top of the World trailhead is vandalized

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An OC Parks educational sign was vandalized earlier this month at Carolyn Wood Knoll. Photo courtesy of Trish Sweeney

OC Parks has increased park ranger patrols at the Top of the World trailhead to Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park after the popular nature viewing spot endured a rash of graffiti earlier this month.

Top of the World resident Trish Sweeney encountered the tags during a late afternoon walk with her husband on Sept. 8. Spray paint covered signs, benches, hatches to underground utility vaults, and a plaque dedicated to a Laguna Beach County Water District facility.

The area also known as Carolyn Wood Knoll holds special significance to the local environmental community considering its namesake is considered a central figure in preserving the Laguna Greenbelt. Wood was as the “brain trust” of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy,

With many leisure activities shuttered by the pandemic, county parks have seen a spike in visitors this summer. The additional foot traffic has some Laguna Beach residents afraid of a wildfire sparked by a careless cigarette or campfire.

OC park rangers are generally responsible for law enforcement in the wilderness parks. However, the Knoll is patrolled by both Laguna Beach police and rangers, Sgt. Jim Cota said.

Rangers are also tasked with medical aids, maintenance, administrative functions, and resource management. One to four park rangers are typically available to respond to Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, depending on the situation, O’Neil wrote in an email.

The signs on park property, including educational signage about the wilderness and trail system, were fully cleaned the same day the incident was reported, said Marisa O’Neil, an OC Parks spokesperson. The water district property sustained more serious damage, she said.

“With fire season here, providing park and wilderness entrances with sufficient camera coverage is more important than ever,” Sweeney wrote in an email.

Laguna Beach has cameras posted at the trailhead in the Top of the World. O’Neil declined to say whether OC Parks is considering additional cameras because of this incident.

Laguna Beach police encourage residents are encouraged to report graffiti on public property to the non-emergency line at 949-497-0701.

A plaque dedicated to a Laguna Beach County Water District facility was vandalized earlier this month at Carolyn Wood Knoll. Photo courtesy of Trish Sweeney
A plaque dedicated to a Laguna Beach County Water District facility was cleaned after being vandalized earlier this month at Carolyn Wood Knoll. Photo courtesy of Trish Sweeney
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1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you Trish Sweeney for bringing this to our attention. I thought our city and county has State of the Art drones that monitor our preserve areas regularly, especially during high fire periods? Aside from their stationary cameras, why can’t they use the expensive drones as well to cover the area?

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