14th annual Kiwanis river clean up struggles with apathy, less money

Although the dump is only about 3 miles away from the Carson River, people will throw just about anything into the water or the surrounding areas.

At Carson River Canyon off of Deer Run Road, there is a 40-foot rock wall decorated with graffiti and shotgun holes. Random pieces of sharp metal, computer parts and broken beer bottles cover the ground. The trash and and shotgun pellets are a bigger part of the environment than the sagebrush.

"We have found anything imaginable -- you name it and it is out here," said Jason Hastings, a senior member and one of 70 Navy JROTC members from Carson High School who helped at the Kiwanis 14th annual River Cleanup Saturday.

Hastings and friend Chris MacMahon had filled one large garbage bag in the first 10 minutes.

About 150 volunteers swept the river Saturday morning near Mexican Dam Road, Silver Saddle Ranch, Deer Run Road and Morgan Mill Park.

Volunteers from Southwest Gas Co. brought along a tractor to remove cars, engine blocks, motorcycle parts and the remnants of computers, washing machines and dryers that are used for target practice.

A truck load of trash was filled by the ROTC in the first 45 minutes of the cleanup. About 20 bags of trash remained on the ground when the truck wheeled away to the dump.

Trash still blanketed the area.

Many of the students said they were angry with the people who left their trash.

"A lot of dumb people come out here because it is cheaper to dump and there is no one to catch you," MacMahon said.

Freshman Angie Hale agreed.

"People come up here, trash the place and get drunk, she said . "There is so much stuff and it is not safe for the animals that come out here."

ROTC instructor Wayne Baker takes a group to the river yearly. He said they picked up a lot of the large trash last year but it was discouraging to see how much damage can be done in a year.

"I thought there would be less trash," he said. "Clearly that isn't so."

Baker said he hoped the event would teach his students responsibility.

"It gives them the chance to see the lack of respect citizens have for the area," Baker said. "Hopefully now they won't be irresponsible."

The Kiwanis group is not only struggling with disrespectful citizens, but also less support from the government.

For many years the Kiwanis received a $5,000 grant from the Bureau of Reclamation. But for this year and next, the money will be reduced to $3,000 a year -- just enough to pay for the food and T-Shirts for the volunteers and trash bags, said Kiwanis member Ray Frederick.

"After that, we are on our own," he added.

The event is held in conjunction with the Carson district of the Bureau of Land Management.


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