TEXT AND PHOTOS BY TOM FEE
Several weeks prior to our annual cleanup I drove out to the Fernley Swales area to scout out the trash areas to prepare for the October 6 cleanup. I was disturbed to find that one of the two trailers that had been there the year before had burned to the ground leaving a terrible mess. (Fortunately the other trailer was totally gone from the easement).
On top of the pile of burned rubble was the heavy metal support frame. Nearby was scattered many large sheets of heavy metal trailer siding.
A short distance down the dirt road I found an intact green and white trailer right on, or very near, the Deep Sand Swales of the California Trail.
Traveling on the Central Pacific Railroad bed was found an abandoned and burned out vehicle. We first found this during our cleanup in October 2006 and left it there. Traveling east from there was found the abandoned and burned out remains of a BMW and a short distance from that was another new item, a bed of a small red pickup truck. Toward the east end of the easement was found the familiar bed of a very old pickup, which we had seen every year of our cleanups. These large items were too much for the volunteers of our typical cleanups to handle.
Digital pictures of the trash areas were taken as well as pictures of these large items. Pictures of the abandoned vehicles, the pickup beds, the intact trailer, and the heavy metal support frame of the burned down trailer were emailed to my contact at the Reno office of Waste Management. I asked if the Fernley Transfer Station was able to handle items of this size. I received the answer I was fearing. “No”. Michael suggested I contact an auto wrecker.
On September 30 the first Fernley auto wrecker contacted saw pictures of only the two abandoned vehicles. He stated, “These vehicles do not have wheels. It would not be worth my time to haul them out.” I then tried an auto wrecker next door to the first. I again explained the historic significance of the California Trail and the Central Pacific Railroad Bed.
When Arnold Coronado, of Arnold’s Wrecking Yard, saw the pictures of the two abandoned vehicles, the two pickup beds, the intact trailer, and the support frame of the burned down trailer, he responded, “Some of this would not be worth much as scrap, but I will haul them all out as a community service.” Even though he was busy that Saturday morning, we drove to the Swales to scout the area and figure out how he could get his heavy flat bed auto carrier in to various locations without getting stuck in the soft sand. After doing so, we made arrangements to meet at 9:00 am on Thursday, October 4th. Arnold asked if I could somehow turn the intact trailer around 180 degrees to the east so the tow bar was facing the road. This way he could back his auto carrier to the trailer and winch it onto the flatbed carrier.
I returned several days later with my 4 x 4 pickup, a tow chain, and come-a-long. I was able to turn the trailer around. I also took all the wood, insulation, pieces of furniture, etc. that was loose and threw it out of the trailer in a pile to be taken during the October 6 cleanup. This was so Arnold would not have to deal with it back at his wrecking yard when he broke it up to get to the metal support frame for the scrap value.
I also drove to the burned down trailer area and removed a good deal of the partially burned floor from the metal support frame with a saw and sledge hammer so there would be less work for Arnold back at his yard. Then I moved the metal support frame off the pile and onto the side of the road with a tow chain and my truck so there would be easy assess to it by the auto carrier. I also gathered up the heavy metal siding from the burned down trailer, from a fairly wide area, and dragged it to a pile by the side of the dirt road for easy access by the auto carrier.
I met Arnold at 9:00 a.m. on October 4 and helped him load up the heavy items our cleanup volunteers could not handle and which Waste Management would not take. Arnold was so well organized that he had a driver with another flat bed auto hauler waiting near the Truck Inn when he had the intact trailer loaded (our first item).
The driver took the loaded carrier back to the wrecking yard (several miles south of the Transfer Station) while Arnold took the empty carrier for another load. In 4 1/2 hours Arnold had hauled away the two abandoned vehicles, the two pickup beds, the intact trailer, and the support frame and metal siding from the burned down trailer. What a relief! Thanks to Arnold Coronado, the cleanup crew could handle what was left.
This turned out to be 16-20 pickup and long bed trailer loads of trash that was taken to the Fernley Transfer Station two days later. About half of those loads came from near, yet outside, the 130 acre Protective Easement.
After you view the thirteen photos of the Pre-Cleanup Condition of the Swales area, please check out the October 6, 2007 Photo Story of the Fernley Deep Sand Swales Cleanup Project to see what a great job our volunteers did!