Trash Dog volunteers attacked both ends of the county Saturday, with about 15 of them at Floras Creek and another dozen at the shooting ranges east of Brookings.
“The Floras Creek Road proved to be a big deal,” said Ed Gross, cofounder of the Dogs. “It was a long day; we got a lot of trash.”
The Trash Dogs there put in five hours pulling dumped garbage – including a 150-pound commercial soda cooler – an estimated 250 feet from the bottom of a scree-strewn cliff.
They had the assistance of a tractor and front-end loader to tie off to lower people, trash cans and tools down the 60-degree slope. The cliff was so steep, Gross said, Trash Dogs were stationed at three mid-points to help move the loads of trash along.
The group filled two trailer loads with debris along the creek.
Dogs who made that event included Bill Hauer, Alan Middleton, Bobbie and Ed Gross, Victor Spini, Harve Timeus, Jerry Sweeney, Ron Lewis, Matt Swanson, Rusty Harrison and Del Hodges.
At the other end of the county, Trash Dogs collected thousands of shotgun shell casings and debris at the Snaketooth shooting range, filling a trailer with little but shells and a few appliances pocked with scores of bullet holes.
At the rifle range, the Trash Dogs were joined by about a dozen local marksmen who pitched in to clean up the area littered with wood, cardboard and thousands of rifle casings.
“A lot of people had been tossing around the idea (of cleaning up the ranges),” said Mike Connelly, who was instrumental in bringing the Trash Dogs and the marksmen together. “The big holdup was how to dispose of it.”
Connelly and the Dogs agreed that help from people who are vested in an area is important, as well.
“The more people that use the range that are vested in it, the less likely it is to get junked up,” Connelly said. “They see neighbors and friends clean up after them, the less likely they are to dump their stuff up there.
“It was a nice surprise when we got up there and most of it was already done,” he added. “And between all of us, we got a lot done. If you look at the before and after, it’s pretty impressive.”