Volunteers with the Curry County Trash Dogs, who thought they were done with the year’s activities were surprised Wednesday morning when a resident reported someone had dumped a large load of trash over an embankment almost two miles up Peavine Ridge Road along the Winchuck River.
“Sixteen tires, a couch, a recliner chair, refrigerator, a kitchen stove, a large davenport, an alternator, cans of used oil and kerosene, aluminum roofing sheets, a king-sized mattress, a pile of bed frames, 140 square feet of carpet, many bags of garbage, and on and on,” said organizer Ed Gross. “We had two trailer loads and one pickup full of tires.”
One trailer was filled with metal and taken to be recycled.
The six Trash Dogs were assisted by the resident who reported the illegal dumping.
The Trash Dogs is a group of about 20 citizens who comb the national forests in the winter looking for sites where people have illegally dumped large volumes of trash. Come summer, the “Dawgs” then haul out the stuff – refrigerators, tires, beds, couches, clothing and general trash – and take it to the trash collection site north of Brookings.
The group, funded by grants that pay for signage and dump fees, works throughout the national forests in Curry County, hauling out tons of discarded trash every summer.
Last weekend, about 10 of them traveled up Old County Road and collected two mechanized hospital beds, file cabinets and bookcases – and hauled out, piece by piece, the rusting remnants of a car.
“I don’t think we’ve ever hauled a car out one piece at a time,” Gross said. “This is a first.”
Usually the group contracts with a tow truck company to get vehicles and boats out of the woods.
Gross doesn’t keep track of how much material the Dawgs haul away, nor the number of trailer-loads it takes to do so. A typical outing can result in as little as one trailer-full or as much as two trailers, a couple of truck beds-full – and a second trek into the woods.