The Trash Dogs, aided by the Smith River Alliance of Crescent City, spent a chilly Saturday morning dismantling two fifth-wheel RVs on a gravel bar across the road from an old mill site a few miles up Jerry’s Flat Road northeast of Gold Beach.
A couple of them then returned that afternoon to cut up and recycle the frame of one RV.
Saturday’s group used mallets, sawzalls and pulaskis to take the RVs apart and shovels and rakes to collect the debris and fill six trailers and truck beds.
The gravel bar has increasingly become an attractive place for people to illegally leave filthy and nonfunctioning vehicles; the Trash Dogs have another five RVs and a vehicle in the Rogue River to retrieve.
The group was created about 10 years ago and, using federal grants to pay to take the material to the landfill, began picking up illegally-dumped trash — “cleaning up the forest, one pile at a time” — on U.S. Forest Service land.
Their mission is to pick up trash along roads, in the forests and streams; promote a healthy environment for fish, wildlife, forest soil and drinking water; enhance local communities and economies with forests that are friendly and attractive to visitors; provide opportunities for citizens to clean up their communities and encourage environmental awareness and responsibility.
Trash dumped often includes household garbage, toys, clothing, furniture, appliances, boats and vehicles among many other things. Dump fees for Saturday’s work will likely exceed $500, said Trash Dog Ed Gross.
While it is possible to determine the owners of such vehicles, it’s difficult to find them, as they often move. Finances at the county and forest service levels also preclude them from prosecuting all but the most major of offenses.
In attendance were: Beth Walden, Rory McDonald, James Fournier, Steve Low, Ray Sundblad, Wayne Sundin, Ron Lewis, Jane Stebbins, John Thompson, Randy Patterson, Ed Gross, Marty Van Otterloo, Mark Anderson and Joe Janowicz.
Those interested in joining the dogs on their forays into the woods can meet them on designated Saturdays at Fred Meyer in Brookings; details are posted in the Curry Coastal Pilot calendar section. Tax-deductible contributions to the nonprofit can be made to Trash Dogs, P.O. Box 444, Brookings, OR 97415. For more information, visit www.trashdogs.org.