A volunteer scrubs off graffiti at Lizard’s Mouth in the mountains above Goleta. (Robert Bernstein photo)

Elephant Snot! That was the latest weapon brought to bear on the paint vandalism at beautiful Lizard’s Mouth in the mountains above Goleta on Sunday!

Elephant Snot is a proprietary substance that is supposed to be able to remove nasty paint on rock, yet be biodegradable and able to clean up with water.

The event was a collaboration of UC Santa Barbara Adventure Programs, Santa Barbara Rock Gym, the U.S. Forest Service and other groups and individuals joined in, including the Sierra Club Santa Barbara.

I met Forest Service worker Larry Griffith at our Sierra Club cleanup back in September and he told me of this upcoming event. The Sierra Club had tried other means to remove the paint without much success.

The group Sunday was full of energy, and the Elephant Snot seemed to be a bit more successful than what we used before. It should be at $75 per gallon! And we got no break on that price!

A Forest Service fire truck was on hand to provide water to fill pump-action water tanks that we carried in for clean-up.

The Elephant Snot was brushed on the ugly paint blotches and allowed to soak in for at least 20 minutes. Then, a bit more was applied as it was scrubbed with stiff brushes. Lots and lots of scrubbing! Then, the water tanks were pumped by hand to pressurize the water for spray cleaning. This was usually repeated at least a couple of times.

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers! Surveillance cameras to catch vandals and putting them to work on cleanup were discussed as future alternatives.

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Robert Bernstein, a local photographer and frequent Noozhawk contributor, is a member of the Sierra Club Santa Barbara Group executive committee. The opinions expressed are his own.