Sierra Stompers & Pine Nut Mountains Trail Association Clear Routes!
(Photos by Mel Munoz…Interview with Nate Littrell of PNMTA.)
Public land in America is “multiple use”, and four-wheelers share fresh air and outdoor recreation with backpackers, horseback riders, bicyclists, off-road motorcyclists and ATV riders. Many users are environmentally aware, and that’s what keeps our trails accessible.
Then there are others, the not-outdoor-savvy culprits. A recent cleanup effort near Johnson Lane and Carson Valley showed just how pervasive the trash problem can be! The clean-up went far toward keeping the local Pine Nut trails open—for all recreationalists.
Trashers had dumped and littered the Pine Nut Range to a disgraceful level. The Sierra Stompers 4WD Club joined the Pine Nut Mountains Trail Association to remove this blight from the land. Thanks to enthusiastic members of these two organizations and others, the mess got cleaned up!
Efforts like this by thoughtful four-wheelers and sensible outdoor recreationalists do keep our trails open. Without these projects and other community service work, Jeep 4WD owners could lose access to prime backcountry trails. If you have the opportunity to volunteer for an effort of this kind, make your Jeep 4WD conspicuous. Let others know that we do ‘Tread Lightly!’, leaving nothing more than our light tire prints on the great outdoor landscape!
Note: Nate Littrell with the Pine Nut Mountains Trail Association shared details about the PNMTA cleanup projects. Thanks, Nate, and thanks to the Sierra Stompers and all other outdoor folks and clubs members who volunteer for these worthy efforts!
Quoting from Nate Littrell, PNMTA member:
“We’ve done at least one cleanup every year since 1998. We’ve been keeping track, and we’ve gotten over 2000 cubic yards of junk out of the Pine Nut Range…That’s a lot of junk! You know how big a 30-yard dumpster is?
” We’ve also pulled out over two dozen junk cars, a couple of motorhomes and junk trailers. This is where the Stompers come in real handy! They like dragging stuff. They’ve joined most of our cleanups…We organize the cleanups. Douglas and Carson City Counties have helped pay for dumpsters, and so has the garbage company. Douglas Disposal is great. The management are riders, and they like having a clean desert.
“Other clubs come out to help. We get people from the bicycle club (Alta Alpina), the backcountry horse people, high school clubs, and others show up and help. It’s great! Once we organize a cleanup, filling the dumpsters is the easy part.
“We do other things besides cleanups. We’ve built official staging (parking) areas for folks to unload and go have fun. This legitimizes the use of the Pine Nuts as an off-road destination and gives a little structure to the situation… We put up kiosks with maps and posted rules.
“We are great role models for kids. I see a whole generation of kids that get really upset about littering. Club members bring their kids out to the clean-ups. The kids get outraged at the junk we find… So do I. Household trash is the worst. I’d rather pick up ten washing machines than a load of dirty diapers and rotten food!
” Actually, the worst thing is meth labs. We’ve cleaned up two of them. They are gnarly chemicals and bad spirits. Yuck!
“In spite of all this, we still get people thinking that off-roaders are the ones that make a mess of the desert. This is so wrong. The folks who litter are absolutely not off-roaders. They’re low-lifes who don’t even think about what they’re doing. I’ve run across a few dumpers, and they are definitely from the shallow end of the gene pool.
“We take pride in being part of the solution. The PNMTA spends a lot of time lobbying the BLM and Forest Service to keep trails open. We also prove that we are worthy of using the trails by taking care of them.”
Nate finished by sharing, “Our PNMTA website address is www.pnmta.org if your readers want more information about projects. We are partnering with the Blue Ribbon Coalition to support a lawsuit to keep the trails open on the border by Bridgeport, California. To finance this, we seriously need donations, either to PNMTA or the Blue Ribbon Coalition. Please have your readers contact us for details.”