San Bernardino Mountain bottled water protest unites all ages in roadside picketing
San Bernardino Mountain bottled water protest unites all ages in roadside picketing.
CRESTLINE >> Holding signs that said “Arrowhead Off My Mountain” and “Make Strawberry Canyon Great Again,” about 60 people Sunday protested Nestlé Waters North America’s controversial withdrawal of water from the San Bernardino Mountains.
The protestors were primarily mountain residents and students from the University of Redlands’ Young Progressives Demanding Action club.
“We love the environment and love the outdoors,” said Dawn Middleton, 61, of Lake Arrowhead, one of those protesting who said she was concerned about the effects of millions of gallons of water annually being withdrawn from remote Strawberry Canyon, a relatively lush area in the mountains which is known for diverse wildlife, including sensitive and endangered species.
From 1947 until 2015, nearly 4.3 billion gallons of spring water have been taken from 12 horizontal water collection pipes in West Strawberry Canyon, which is above San Bernardino, according to a recently released League of Women Voters’ position paper on a proposed renewal of Nestlé’s special use permit.
Nestlé is one of several large corporations to own rights to those wells and the Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water brand.
Much of the controversy about Nestlé’s water withdrawal pivots around the re-issuance of the permit that allows pipes and other equipment on the San Bernardino National Forest.
Nestlé pays $524 annually for the permit, which expired in 1988, Under U.S. Forest Service regulations, however, these kinds of permits stay in effect until they are renewed or denied.
Advertisement While previous meetings and rallies related to this withdrawal of water have drawn mostly mature participants, this one included the youthful faces of about 25 University of Redlands students.
“Socially, this is a really pressing issue.