Horse groups clean up Stockton Flat |

Horse groups clean up Stockton Flat

Staff report
Photo courtesy of Tami Daniels Marialaina Batoog and Andy Quinn clean up cans and broken bottles Saturday in Stockton Flat in Stagecoach as part of National Public Lands Day.

Members of two local horse groups braved threatening weather Saturday to help clean up Stockton Flat, an area that is home to wild horse herds and popular with area equestrians.

Fifteen members of the Lyon County Horseman’s Association and Least Resistance Training Concepts cleared more than 1,000 pounds of broken glass and other debris from Stockton Flat, 10,000 acres located north of Highway 50, said LRTC President Willis Lamm.

The two groups had signed up for National Public Lands Day and have agreed to a year-long commitment to keep the allotment free of debris.

The area, controlled by the federal Bureau of Land Management, is near Windswept Acres at the southeast portion of the Virginia Range, from high elevations to the valley floors, Lamm said, that offer breathtaking views to hikers and equestrians.

Though electrical storms cut the effort short, Lamm said, volunteers from Nevada and California removed trash, cleared trails and drainage areas and rode out on horseback to search for hazards. Lamm said the group would return when the weather was not so risky.

They plotted unmapped trails, and cataloged the wild horses that frequent the area.

“We’re so lucky to have these public lands right here in our back yards,” Lamm said. “BLM is stretched pretty thin, so the user groups need to step up and help maintain these areas.”

Mark Struble, public affairs officer at the BLM Carson City Field Office, said the BLM relies a great deal on organized groups to help keep BLM’s public lands safe and clean.

Shara Wilkey, a former Forest Service worker, said it was like an outdoor classroom while she showed new volunteers how to read animal tracks, identify coyote scat, spot cougar signs and explained outdoor survival and safety techniques.

“We can bring people out and really teach them what the range is all about,” she said.