Desert cleanup effort brings folks outdoors and reconnects them to nature

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February 17th, 2009

Nearly 100 volunteers collected dilapidated furniture, rusted 55-gallon barrels, more old tires than one could count, and bags upon bags of miscellaneous garbage during the Feb. 6-8 weekend cleanup near Wickenburg, despite the threats of winter rains that blanketed the state.

A large portion of the desert in Game Management Unit 42 plagued by years of littering is lush once again thanks to a coordinated effort between the Bureau of Land Management, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and many concerned citizens in this cleanup effort.

“We were lucky to have two productive days to clean up before those big storms hit,” said Craig Heath, Game and Fish wildlife manager. “It’s all because we had an excellent turnout of private citizens, sportsmen, conservation organizations, students from Nadaburg Elementary School, and two Cub Scout troops.”

Productive is an understatement. Fresh helping hands arrived periodically throughout the day. When it was all over, old tires alone filled 2 1/2 industrial-sized dumpsters, and another dumpster was packed full with other trash.

Over the years the trash has piled up, and besides being unsightly, the large piles of trash can be harmful to wildlife, pose a fire hazard, and damage the landscape.

“This cleanup was beneficial in a number of ways. It lets the public learn more about the issues we [land owners] face with managing public lands,” said Penny Foreman, outdoor recreation planner for the Bureau of Land Management. “And it rids the very popular Hassayampa Valley area of unsightly and potentially unsafe trash and debris.”

Large rogue dumpsites like this pose a number of problems besides the obvious, making these trash sites a costly burden to clean up – all because some folks won’t drive to an authorized landfill.

If you get a chance, take the scenic drive along Vulture Mine Road out of Wickenburg and  take a moment and stop at Vulture Peak Trailhead. There will be a poster from the cleanup in the kiosk signed by all the participants, with photos and artwork by the kids from the event to remind everyone to: Give a hoot, don’t pollute!

To learn more about volunteering opportunities with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, visit www.azgfd.gov/volunteer.

One Response to “Desert cleanup effort brings folks outdoors and reconnects them to nature”

  1. Hi,
    How do we get involved in clean up volunteer efforts for Table Mesa Area? I would like some info on tht spot if you have some, please.
    thank you
    Reed

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