By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
Hundreds of people turned out to give Logandale Trails a face-lift last Saturday at the 23rd Annual Public Lands Day event. Organized and co-sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Partners in Conservation (PIC), outdoor enthusiasts, as well as those who just wanted to help, turned out at the area’s main trailhead to plant desert seedlings, repaint structures, seed abandoned trails, remove grafitti, and pick-up trash.
The numbers of willing volunteers in attendance surpassed expected estimates and organizers were understandably thrilled.
“This is an outstanding turnout,” said Steve Leslie, the BLM Supervisory Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Las Vegas field office said. “It is more than quadruple what we saw last year.”
Leslie said that Public Lands Day is a way for people to come out and discover how recreation sites are maintained.
The day began at 8:00 am with a breakfast of donuts, pastries, muffins, and an assortment of drinks provided by PIC and served by Moapa Valley Revitilization Project (MVRP).
Volunteers met briefly with Leslie, who gave some safety pointers and other directions.
Workers then quickly dispersed into workgroups. Some groups stayed near the main trailhead area to put in new desert plants, paint, remove graffiti, and more. Other groups set out on the trails to place signs, clean primitive campsites, and pick up trash.
Entire families came and there were jobs for all ages and abilities. Scott Dowden came from Vegas and brought his son, Chase.
“We wanted to come today and help give back,” Dowden said. “This is our Thanksgiving playground. Last year we brought a group of 70 for that weekend. We love how well-maintained it is and we wanted to help out.”
Bonnie Palmer from Mesquite and Sharlene Kierstead from Scenic, AZ, came from the other direction to help.
“We came last year to help and it was barrels of fun so we absolutely came back,” Palmer said. “It’s a great way to ride, look at beautiful scenery, and help out a great cause.”
Local residents also came to join in the project. Dixie Wolf of Logandale saw the event advertised and decided to check it out. “I came by myself,” she said. “I needed to get out of the house and do something and I haven’t been out here for years. I just wanted to help.”
Wolf helped with the planting of dozens of native vegetation. Another volunteer noted that coming to help plant makes you invested in the area, saying every time she drives by from now on she will be checking on “her” plants.
Janice Ridondo, Community Liaison for Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, was there just as a member of the community. Ridondo resides in Overton.
“I came because I wanted to support the community,” Ridondo said. “I know what important activities go on here and how 4-wheelers are such an integral part of the community. I love seeing the kids come and how they are being taught to respect the land. It is so great to see that they are replanting and rejuvenating the land and it is great to see the BLM working alongside the community.”
Other area organizations were also represented, including ATV groups, Friends of Gold Butte, MVRP, the Great Basin Institute, and many more.
“We are so happy to support PIC, the BLM, and this cleanup,” said Kathi Cooper of MVRP. “People can come and enjoy the newly-cleaned and brightened area at the local OHV roundup on November 11-12.”
More information on the OHV roundup can be found at the MVRP website playinourdirt.com.
After working hard all morning, PIC treated all the volunteers to a lunch of pizza from Pirate’s Landing, as well as green salad, fruit, brownies, cookies, soda, and water.
PIC Administrator Elise McAllister was thrilled with the day. “I think today has been so fantastic,” she said. “With the BLM, volunteers, and kids, we have easily over 200 people this year. I’m excited about the improvements we’re making.”