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Hot Rods of Bear Creek Road

Facebook Page Calls Attention to the Valley’s Abandoned Vehicles

By Julie Horner

There’s nothing like an inspiring drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains. Occasionally, however, the view is interrupted by the sight of an obviously inoperable vehicle abandoned on the side of the road. In August of 2021, a Facebook page was created by locals to chronicle abandoned cars on Bear Creek Road in Boulder Creek. The intention, they said, was to provide a place to post about the frustration without being divisive. “It was something that locals can relate to,” they said, “we see it every day.” 

Photos of dumped vehicles are posted to the page paired with wildly creative anecdotes for a laugh-out-loud poke at a chronic problem. The page is quite a hit. One fan writes, “OMG this page is too good! Seeing so many abandoned cars on the side of Bear Creek Road really irks us, but this page brilliantly showcases them in the funniest way!” A pair of working professionals are the street team behind Hot Rods of Bear Creek Road @bcrhotrods, and page ownership is intentionally anonymous because they wanted to avoid finger-pointing. While abandoning a vehicle on a public roadway is an unlawful act punishable by fines, they imagined readers would “get an audible chuckle from the posts then go back to their day.” 

Managing the Valley’s Abandoned Vehicles

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Deputy Caitlin McBride said, “I love his page and appreciate their sense of humor and creativity.” She said most of these mechanically unsound vehicles are dragged out of rural Bear Creek Canyon or from remote properties on Deer Creek Road. “Almost never are these cars stolen,” she said, “it’s super rare.” Deputy McBride serves as a community liaison. Her beat includes the North Coast of Santa Cruz to the San Mateo line, Bonny Doon, and all of the San Lorenzo Valley. “Bear Creek Road is one of the areas of the county where people abandoning stripped junkers is pretty blatant; it doesn’t happen as much in other areas of the county,” she said. 

Deputy Caitlin McBride | Photo by SLV Steve

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has an abandoned vehicle abatement program (AVA), and anyone can file a report online or by phone. The deputy on call runs the license plate and vehicle identification number (VIN) to determine whether there is an owner and whether the vehicle is actually abandoned. The Sheriff’s Department leaves a courtesy notice on the vehicle, and if no one claims the vehicle after 72 hours, a deputy tags it for removal by a contract salvage company. “Once we tag for tow,” Deputy McBride said, “it takes about 10 days before it is removed.” To report an abandoned vehicle:

If you see a nuisance vehicle but aren’t sure whether it should be reported through the AVA tool, Deputy McBride encourages the public to contact her office directly and she will reach out to the owner. If you have an extra vehicle you’re not using, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks has a vehicle donation program that benefits local state parks and beaches:

An Open Conversation

Community members with concerns are invited to participate in the newly launched Sheriff’s Town Hall Meeting program. Meetings occur on a rotating basis in communities throughout the county and give neighbors and public safety representatives a chance to talk openly about local issues. The next meetings in the Valley are planned for late January and early February 2024. Follow the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Facebook page for updates: @SantaCruzSheriffsOffice.

Deputy Caitlin McBride, Community Policing Division
Boulder Creek Service Center
13210 Highway 9, Boulder Creek, CA. 95006
(831) 454-7602

Find the Hot Rods of Bear Creek Road on Facebook @bcrhotrods.

Photos by Julie Horner


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