September 29, 2012
National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. The annual volunteer program is designed for hands-on volunteer work in restoring and conserving the natural, cultural, and recreational resources of our nation’s public lands.
Sofas, chairs, car seats, bed frames, loads of rocks and concrete, carpeting, TVs, computers, yard waste, anything that could be used for target practice and lots of old tires were hauled out by the 23 volunteers who responded for the annual fall cleanup of the Fernley Deep Sands Swales and historic Central Pacific Railroad bed.
Additionally, we expanded the cleanup beyond the boundary of the Swales easement to include some very heavy dumping areas. Without fences or other indications of ownership, the trail becomes a convenient, “out of sight” place to abandon hard-to-dispose-of items. Piles of trash just outside the perimeter of the cleaned area only invite more dumping.
Volunteers from the local area joined eight members of the California-Nevada Chapter of OCTA on September 29, National Public Lands Day, to clean up the Deep Sand Swales area, upon which the Bureau of Land Management maintains an easement through private property.
Fortified with pickup trucks and heavy equipment, the group removed over 62 cubic yards of refuse from the Swales easement. This amount was considerably more than was picked up last year, due in part, to the fact that two or three 4×4 trails crossing the sandy regions of the area were cleaned up for the first time.
Rachel Crews, BLM archeologist in the Carson City field office, and BLM intern Mike Cook, provided additional trucks and hands-on help to the cleanup effort. In observance of National Public Lands Day, Crews presented the volunteers with National Public Lands Day T-shirts and one-day passes to any of the country’s National Parks, all compliments of the BLM.
Tom Fee and Jim Moorman relaced a sign that had been shot full of holes.
Volunteers filled their pickups with the debris they collected and consolidated it in a large dump trailer loaned by Fernley businessman Dan McCassie. Using McCassie’s truck, the large trailer was hauled to the TrashPros transfer station where we were allowed to dump free of charge all day.
Many local volunteers returned once again to assist with the desert cleanup. One Fernley family represented four generations of volunteers, from great-grandmother to her great-granddaughter who, at eight years-old, was the youngest worker. OCTA member, Dick Young, topped out the group at 80. He and his wife, Joan, came from North Lake Tahoe for the day to help, along with other CA-NV Chapter members from California, Dick Waugh and chapter president, John Winner. Tom Fee (former Swales Cleanup Chairman), and Dave Hollecker rounded out our Nevada contingent of CA-NV OCTA.