Since 2001, KTMB has organized groups of volunteers to help initiate open space cleanups to help maintain and preserve public areas within the Truckee Meadows. With the help of several different entities including Washoe County Environmental Health, Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, and City of Sparks, the Great Community Cleanup and the Illegal Dumping Task Force was incepted.
Each year at the event, volunteers focus on removing invasive weeds and cleaning up garbage dumped illegally in the open spaces of Northern Nevada. Sparks City Councilman Donald Abbott attended the cleanup at Rock Park and claimed that the event was a success.
“It was really good- we cleaned the park up fairly quickly but then we spread 5-10 yards of bark around the park and that took some time,” says Abbott. Around 20 people attended the Rock Park gathering and some people ventured over from Wildcreek Golf Course to help.
“The highlight of the event was seeing everyone come out and giving up their Saturday morning to care for the park. It’s great to see the community come together like that and share a vested interest in their parks no matter how often they use them,” he adds.
Preliminary numbers from the May 6 event show that over 700 volunteers helped to remove over 113,000 pounds of trash and invasive weeds in the one-day cleanup.
Along with the Great Community Cleanup and Illegal Dumping Task Force, KTMB has worked with the City of Sparks on other projects including Adopt-a-Spot, Adopt-a-Park, Truckee River Cleanup and litter campaigns.
During the May 8 Sparks City Council meeting, the first General Business item on the agenda was to consider a $10,000 donation to KTMB. With City of Sparks’ generous donation in the 2015-16 fiscal year, KTMB was able to clean up 28 miles of “adopted” roadways in Sparks by coordinating 635 volunteers who came together to remove 166 bags of garbage from them (totaling 1,373 hours). City of Sparks also sponsored KTMB’s Adopt-A-Park and River Cleanup event in September 2016 that resulted in 337 volunteers removing 25 bags of trash, one bag of recyclables, a tire, and 1,440 bags of weeds from Rock Park, Glendale Park and Cottonwood Park.
In last year’s Great Community Cleanup effort, 53 volunteers removed 2.75 tons of trash and weeds with the City of Sparks with its main focus on Pah Rah Mountain Park and Teglia’s Paradise Park.
“I’m fully in support of continuing to donate to KTMB,” says Abbott. “If you see 20 people on a Saturday morning volunteering four hours of their time at just one location, then that’s quite a few hours of donated time. Multiply that by the wage that we would pay a city worker to clean up the sites and we are saving thousands of dollars. It’s probably close to $30,000 we receive from the community pitching in,” he adds.
In coordination with Keep America Beautiful, KTMB releases an annual Litter Survey that is strategically placed in five Sparks’ locations. Of the results received, Sparks has ranked 1.65 in its level of cleanliness on a scale from 1-4 (with 4 meaning that the community is “extremely littered”). So it seems as though the community’s cleanup efforts are paying off. KTMB volunteers use these results to help assess areas that can be targeted for future cleanup efforts.
“(KTMB) does a lot with a little amount of money and to see all of the hard work and orchestration of our community is very gratifying,” says Abbott.
KTMB’s next event will be the Truckee River Cleanup Day to be held on September 30. For more information, visit http://ktmb.org/.