LAVERKIN — A cooperative effort by the Washington County-sponsored “Give Your Land a Hand” campaign committee, Republic Services, Desert Roads and Trails Society and the Utah Public Lands Alliance filled a 30-cubic-yard dumpster to capacity Saturday.
The cleanup project was undertaken at the Valley Gun Club shooting range in LaVerkin. Republic Services, a waste management company, donated and delivered the dumpster, with the help of a LaVerkin resident who borrowed his employer’s front-end loader to assist.
Sarah Thomas, who is with the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve as well as a member of the Give Your Land a Hand committee, said the campaign has held four successful cleanups since she started with the group in February: Bloomington, Confluence Park, Santa Clara River Reserve and then Saturday’s cleanup at the shooting range.
“Each time we’ve filled 30 yard dumpsters to capacity or more,” Thomas said, adding:
We’ve been really lucky to work with Republic Waste and also with Desert RATS, whom we are partnering with. … A big component of the GYLAH program is actually getting on the ground and cleaning up trash. Another really big component is creating community partnerships. We’re hoping to create more and more ties with the County and user groups, like the Desert RATS. The third big component is that we are hoping to undertake an education program so that we can let people know how great the Washington County landfill is and how residents can get rid of their trash there for free. Around the country, this is pretty unusual. That’s the next big push, educating people that they don’t have to dump on the land because we have a great dump to take things to.
Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson said the public lands cleanup couldn’t happen without the help of the Desert RATS and the other volunteers.
“It’s just a fantastic way for people to give back and care about the public lands they enjoy and recreate on,” he said.
Chris Grover, a representative of Republic Services, said the company was pleased to participate.
“We’re happy to do what we can to help keep our public lands clean,” Grover said. “Republic is glad to help in any way we can.”
Gil Meacham, president of the Utah Public Lands Alliance, said the probably could’ve filled three or four more dumpsters.
“It’s daunting, but we’ll keep plugging away,” Meacham said. “We’d like to see more people come out here with their kids and their guns and enjoy shooting and take home everything that they brought out.”
Bud Sanders, board member with the Desert RATS, said his group participates in at least four cleanups per year in both Utah and Arizona and that “most of the worst, trashiest areas are where unorganized shooting occurs.”
“So we’re attempting to find a way to change the shooting culture for them to pick up all their shooting residue before they leave.”
The Desert RATS and the Utah Public Lands Association are both 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations committed to keeping public lands public and accessible to all, including the disabled.
Written and submitted by the DESERT ROADS AND TRAILS SOCIETY.
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