Plucky group of volunteers brave 107-degree heat to give Spanish Valley areas a good cleaning

Approximately fifteen volunteers descended on four different areas on Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) lands in Spanish Valley on July 10 to clean up trash and debris that was left behind by others while shooting their firearms.

“It’s not every day that you get a call from people volunteering to clean up SITLA’s property for the Trust. It speaks highly of the character of the individuals involved,” said SITLA Assistant Director Michelle McConkie.

The volunteers picked up appliances, yard waste, furniture, television sets, windows, and various household waste. They didn’t let the blistering 107-degree heat stop them as they worked all day.

San Juan County liaison Jerry McNeeley said, “We have the best and most beautiful area in the state and nation. We need to make sure when we recreate on our unincorporated areas of the county that we use these lands responsibly and leave those areas better than we found them.”

The volunteers were made up of the committee members of the Canyonlands Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and concerned hunters and sportsmen from the area.

“We really appreciate their service and commitment to the area,” said SITLA Director David Ure. “I am grateful for their willingness to clean up these lands and to serve Utah’s school children and other beneficiaries.”

SITLA manages more than 7,000 acres of trust land in the Spanish Valley area of San Juan County for the financial benefit of the public school system.

SITLA manages Utah’s 3.4 million acres of trust land, generating revenue through energy and mineral leases, rent, and royalties; real estate development and sales; and surface estate sales, leases, and easements.

SITLA deposits all proceeds into permanent endowments for each beneficiary. SITLA’s biggest beneficiary is the public school system which was the beneficiary of the lands cleaned up by these volunteers.

The volunteers hauled off several tons of trash while using their own trucks and trailers. They even raked and shoveled the areas to make sure all the glass and spent shells were properly removed.

Everything was hauled off site and deposited into the Grand County transfer station, where most of it will be recycled.

SITLA Resource Specialist Bryan Torgerson said, “They did a really great job by getting the really small stuff. They took it all to the transfer station where it should have all gone in the first place.

“I hope in the future people will make a diligent effort to take their trash and debris to the transfer station and to only shoot appropriate targets.”

In the past a few years, several fires have started in this same area from target shooting. These fires are preventable if people take some simple steps and make sure the conditions are right for target shooting.

Southeast Area Manager for Forestry Fire and State Lands Jason Johnson said, “This is a very dry year with bad fire conditions.

“We would like to ask people to be careful with target shooting and to be aware of the conditions of the fuels in the area and what your target is.

“We recommend that shooters avoid steel jackets and steel core ammunition or anything that could start a spark.”

SITLA prohibits the use of targets on its lands that can explode or ignite because there have been several fires throughout the state caused by the shooting of exploding targets.

SITLA would like to thank the volunteers who helped clean up its lands near Ken’s Lake and to remind people to be responsible when recreating on SITLA lands.

San Juan Record

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