Actions speak louder than words, so when Adam Filbin and a few of his friends noticed their favorite desert play areas being used as community dumpsters, they decided to do something about it. "A lot of people put a lot of blame on the younger generation of '1450' racers, and give us a bad rap," Adam informed. "I wanted to show everyone that these kids are doing their part to keep the deserts open and that they care about the land. What better way to do that than a cleanup? A cleanup was also a great way to show kids who were new to the sport that it's not about being reckless and trashing the desert."
Clean-Dezert started small, but the 2009 cleanup showed just how much momentum the organization has. Three hundred-plus volunteers showed up ready to work last November at the Stoddard Wells OHV area near Barstow, California. No less than 24 companies sponsored the event. Adam outlined Clean-Dezert's approach. "We didn't want to be slave drivers. We wanted to put on a fun event that benefitted everyone involved." To this end, Clean-Dezert offered all volunteers free food, free raffle entries, and free event T-shirts. Raffle winners scored big, to the tune of suspension link kits, bumpstops, fiberglass body panels, and axle housings.
Tons of trash (quite literally) were collected. Five big dumpsters were filled to overflowing with general refuse, along with one dumpster filled with scrap metal, and five loads of discarded tires. The irony here is that Barstow's official landfill site is right across the highway from the OHV area.
Who trashes our deserts? Judging from what gets plucked from the desert and put in the dumpsters, it isn't us. Yes, there were some bits and pieces that clearly came from off-roaders, but the overwhelming majority came from outside sources: people who are too thoughtless to throw their trash away in the proper place. From washing machines to Venetian blinds to drywall scraps to chicken wire: you name it and it was dumped in the desert.
While it's comforting to know that we aren't the ones who trash our off-roading areas, it's still our job to keep them clean. Clean-Dezert's motto says it best: Keep it Clean. Keep it Open.
For more information, contact: Clean-Dezert www.clean-dezert.org