Dumpster filled in just 3 hours at public lands cleanup project

Scores of volunteers turn out for the first 'Give Your Land a Hand' cleanup event held on public land in the Bloomington area Saturday and sponsored by Washington County, St. George, Utah, May 13, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Washington County, St. George News

ST. GEORGE  – The first official “Give Your Land a Hand” public lands cleanup held Saturday and sponsored by Washington County was a great success, attracting 50-60 volunteers to an area near the Bear Claw Poppy trailhead.

Scores of volunteers turn out for the first ‘Give Your Land a Hand’ cleanup event held on public land in the Bloomington area Saturday and sponsored by Washington County, St. George, Utah, May 20, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Washington County, St. George News

The public land cleanup campaign, announced by county officials in November, aims to raise awareness and participation and encourage residents to not only clean up after themselves but also to pick up any trash they come across while using public lands.

Saturday’s event was the first organized Give your Land a Hand event, and it was very productive, Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson told the county commission Tuesday at a regular meeting.

In spite of the fact that the area west of Bloomington has been the site of two recent cleanup events, there was plenty of trash left for the event, Iverson said, adding that he was previously concerned about being able to fill up a dumpster.

“Within three hours we had that puppy full of all kinds of TVs and computers and glass and you know, just all kinds of things that don’t belong on our public lands,” Iverson said.

The area is heavily used by recreational shooters, mountain bikers and off-roaders and is often littered with burn piles and shooting debris, including electronics.

Volunteers at the event included moms, kids, Boy Scouts and members of the local off-road group Desert Roads and Trails Society, Iverson said.

“They had their own Jeeps driving all over the countryside, bringing in stuff and dumping it out,” he said. “It was great.”

A desert tortoise is spotted during the first ‘Give Your Land a Hand’ cleanup event held on public land in the Bloomington area Saturday and sponsored by Washington County, St. George, Utah, May 20, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Washington County, St. George News

Volunteers at the event reported five desert tortoise sightings during the cleanup, including one found by Iverson.

In his little tortoise way, he said ‘thank you’ for, you know, taking care of the garbage,” Iverson said with a chuckle.

Kent Page, a resource specialist with State Institutional Trust Lands Administration, was in attendance at the commission meeting.

“As part of SITLA, I would just like to thank the community for cleaning up that property,” Page said. “It’s very much appreciated.”

The area near the Bear Claw Poppy trailhead was the site of a cleanup April 1 by the Desert Roads and Trails Society. On that day, volunteers filled a 30-cubic-yard dumpster and gathered an additional pile of pallets, appliances and wood debris that would not fit in the dumpster.

Read more: Off-roaders remove car, shooting debris, sofas and more from SITLA ‘eyesore’

“All of us connected with Give Your Land a Hand want to thank everyone who came out for this kick off clean up event,” Washington County Public Lands Clean Up committee chairman Rev. Jimi Kestin said.

“With all the volunteers who came out and support from Republic Services we made a real difference on Saturday,” he said, “and we look forward to continuing to work together with all those who care about our public lands and want to see them looking clean and accessible for all our community to enjoy.”

For more information see the Give Your Land a Hand website and Facebook page along with Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The website offers information about getting involved, an email list sign-up and instructions for properly disposing of garbage, used oil and yard trimmings.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com
Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • Real Life May 17, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Local hillbillies just love shootin’ up tv’s out in the desert! Too bad their mommies never taught them how to clean up after themselves.

  • Henry May 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Great story! Thank you to all the volunteers that participated in this cleanup. And thank you Julie Applegate for including the group’s website in your article, so we can learn more about their efforts.

  • holger May 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Is that a torn American flag in the picture with the ATV?

    • comments May 17, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Correction: that there is a torn ‘MURICAN flag. And it’s a disgrace! IT’S UN’MURICAN!

  • Caveat_Emptor May 17, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Note to Editor:
    The mountain bikers who frequent this area, Bearclaw Poppy Trail, take advantage of the nice non-motorized trail system, laid out on the public land (BLM / SITLA), that is fenced off from the motorized-access expanse of property.
    Most of us would never consider riding adjacent to: motorcycles, ATVs, and Jeeps, from a safety perspective.

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