Sanger students tackle graffiti at Lost Lake Nature Trail

Kings River high schoolers do their part to reclaim area from vandals, preserve trail’s natural beauty

Kings River High School students and staff on a rock covered in graffiti vandalism of varying designs and colors. (Civic Education Center)
Kings River High School students and staff on a rock covered in graffiti vandalism of varying designs and colors. (Civic Education Center)
Darren Fraser
Published April 29, 2024  • 
11:00 am

FRESNO COUNTY – Just last month, seventeen students from Kings River High School (KRSH) in Sanger descended upon Lost Lake Nature Trail to remove graffiti and reclaim the area’s natural beauty from vandalism.

Conducted on March 19, the cleanup involved multiple organizations, including Sanger Unified School District (SUSD), Civic Education Center (CEC), North Fork Mono Tribe, Fresno County Parks Department and the San Joaquin River Trust. KRSH teacher David Kilborn spearheaded the project.

“We originally planned this for last year,” he said, “but poor weather and high water along the river prevented it.”

Kilborn said the students were supplied a cleaning solvent by the parks department. They applied the cleaning solution, scrubbed a bit to loosen the graffiti and then used water to remove the paint.

Kilborn said the students removed graffiti from an area comparable in size to two billboards.

“It was a fairly large area, but they did a great job,” he said.

In a press release, John Minker, CEC chief operating officer said, “The graffiti removal project at Lost Lake is an excellent example of the power of civic engagement. These students are not only improving their community but also learning about the importance of preserving our natural and cultural heritage.”

According to the release, Lost Lake has been a sacred site for Native American tribes for over 5,000 years. During the event, North Fork Mono Tribal Chief Ron Goode explained to the students the significance of the area to his tribe. He explained that tribal women ground acorns on the granite rocks to produce acorn meal.

“We are proud of these students for taking the lead on this important project,” KRHS Principal Jon Tillotson said via the release. “By working together with our community partners, they are not only making a positive impact on their environment but also gaining valuable skills that will serve them well through their lives.

Kilborn said a return trip to the area is scheduled for April 30 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is open to the public and all are invited to join the project.

Darren Fraser
Reporter