Too Swell to trash
Local ATV group cleans up the desert and urges people to pack it in and out
|Richard Beardall is the chairman of the board of the Southeastern Utah ATV club and a member of the Emery County Public Lands Council. He is seen here with a trailer load of garbage he gathered on the Swell. Items include TVs, microwave ovens and other items.|
The San Rafael Swell really is too swell to trash. But, trashing is exactly what has been going on all through the winter months. The amount of garbage thrown alongside the roads is a shame and disgrace.
The local OHV club, the Southeastern Utah OHV club chairman of the board is Richard Beardall. Beardall has been a one-man team out and about on the Swell. He has cleaned in a number of areas with the volunteers he has been able to enlist to help him. He has put in 400 hours of his personal time cleaning on the Swell.
The poker ride trail has been one of interest to the club in readying it for the annual spring ride. Efforts have also been made to clean along the Eva Conover Road and Devil's racetrack.
"Most of the garbage seems to have been thrown from full sized vehicles. When you get off the main routes and onto the OHV only trails, there is a lot less trash. I have been disgusted with the amount of toilet paper and human waste out there on the Swell. We might as well all join SUWA because we are playing right into their hands with the way the Swell is being abused. There are beer cans, pop cans, TVs, microwaves and every kind of garbage that you can think of has been thrown out there. It is just appalling the way people have been treating the Swell. It's not just our local residents but visitors to the area too," said Beardall.
Beardall is also a member of the Emery County Public Lands Council and he speaks with their support on the issue of garbage and the Swell. They discussed the issue in their March public lands meeting and the consensus of the group was to get the message out that if you pack it in, then pack it out. Be courteous campers and visitors to the Swell. We only get one chance with the Swell, if abuse occurs then the ability to utilize the Swell for recreational purposes will be lost through the carelessness of the visitors to the area.
Ray Petersen, Emery County Public Lands Director said, "Easter will be a high impact weekend for the Swell. The number of visitors to the Swell has steadily increased over the years. The usage began even earlier this year, due to nice weather earlier in the season. We need to make people aware that it is to our benefit that all visitors to the Swell recreate responsibly. Failure to do so may mean we lose the resource."
Emery County Sheriff LaMar Guymon stated, "Citations can be issued to anyone seen littering or traveling off trail. If our office issues the citation it is a $200 plus fine. If the BLM issues the citation you will have to appear in federal court. Recently, I saw a young man and his mother out on the Swell and they were cleaning along the road. It's going to take everyone to get this cleaned up and get this problem solved. It just looks horrible from all the towns out into the desert. People throw their trash out the windows because they are too lazy to bring it back.
"People know this type of behavior is against the law. We need to take care of our own trash. If we don't take care of it we will have more restrictions placed upon us.
"Everyone is encouraged to camp in designated areas and to avoid off trail travel. There will be extra patrols on the desert for the Easter weekend. We are available to educate the people who visit the Swell. We will assist in any way we can to help stop the problems that are occurring on the Swell," said Sheriff Guymon, "A long standing problem on the Swell has been the lack of bathroom facilities. The county was promised six bathrooms by the BLM approximately four-five years ago, on this end of the Swell and we haven't got any of them. They put bathrooms down by Temple Mountain, but none here and that continues to be a big problem. Human waste is a health hazard and the Swell is being contaminated with it."
Beardall said, "There is trash all over this whole county. Along the roads, the campgrounds, everywhere. We are making an effort to keep our public lands clean. It's just unbelievable. We want to put this trashing to a halt. We will be recording license plate numbers and people littering will be reported to the authorities.
"Over Easter there will be six riding clubs out there on the Swell. They will inform and educate," said Beardall.
The Bureau of Land Management and the Division of Wildlife Resources will also work the Swell over the Easter holiday to aid in enforcement.