This year's cleanup went better than expected by a long shot. Over 150 people showed up to help pick up trash throughout the camp area and dunes. Some people might not think that sounds like the ideal dune trip, but the cleanup is much more than that. It is an annual event where the duners get together as a small, tight-knit community and give back to the place they love. With the efforts of Barstow BLM and the Friends of Dumont Dunes organization, it has become a tradition that has been 15 years in the making. Several friends and families gathered on Saturday March 18th to do just that and it was a hit!
Registration began at 8:00 AM. Duners trickled in and signed up with the BLM to volunteer for the morning. Gloves, trash bags, and even grabby sticks were supplied to assist those who were picking up trash. Every volunteer got a wrist band, which gave them a free pass for the weekend as well as a free lunch provided by Friends of Dumont Dunes. In addition, each bag of trash collected would give them a quick draw ticket for the chance to win some great prizes.
Cleaning up the Dunes
Many duners scattered out throughout the camp area since the trash seems always be near the fire pits, but some people even went out to Comp Hill and combed the outskirts of the dunes to fill their bags. The most common trash seemed to be empty ice bags, plastic bottles, debris from fireworks and sky lanterns, and tissue/ toilet paper stuck in bushes. So keep this in mind next time you are out at the dunes. Much of that trash gets left behind or blown out of camp.
This may be a disappointment to some, but sky lanterns don't make it to heaven. They go up and then they come down and litter our desert.
Making Dumont a cleaner place, one piece of trash at a time. It was gorgeous weather and I was just happy to be out there helping out.
While out on the north end of camp, this little guy came up and said hello. I thought for sure he'd run away before I pulled my camera out, but he didn't even flinch.
Small bushes were a popular trash trap.
The large dumpster was provided via Barstow BLM. Bags upon bags of trash were collected and tossed in. You'd be surprised at some of junk that is left behind out there by litterbugs; a roll of carpet, a car fender, clothing, a tire, a coloring book, CO2 cartridges, and much more. There was a plaque given for most unique item found and that went to the person that found a fishing pole! Who brings a fishing pole to Dumont?
This was my contribution for the day. A full bag of trash plus a few strange items like the coloring book, a little girl's Christmas dress, a timing belt and an ugly thermal.
Everyone had their vehicle of choice. I used my buggy. Some used their vehicle so they could run their A/C. Lou used his ATC70!
By 11:30 AM all the trash was collected in the dumpster and everyone gathered at the BLM Ranger Station for lunch, a public meeting and quick draw. The shade structure helped out tremendously this year. In year's past, we would have to stand out in the sun or haul our EZ UPs over to the event area. The BLM has put together quite a nice compound with our user fees; money well spent my my eyes.
Food! Lunch is Served!
Everyone lined up for lunch. The new president of Friends of Dumont Dunes, Jason Ardenski, and his family donated their time to serving up a great backyard style BBQ lunch. Tri-Tip sliders, ballpark-style dogs, corn, beans, chips and cookies were provided. Jason went above and beyond into making this happen. He forked out money from his own pocket into making sure this was more than just a cheap hotdog and a water type lunch. He brought out the good stuff with very little time to prepare. The whole family was very professional and you would think they owned a restaurant the way they made sure each and every duner was handled. Jason's BBQ setup and catering equipment was impressive. We can't thank him and the whole family enough for what they did.
The lunch crew (left to right):
Jason's sister and her boyfriend, Brooke and Danny with their son Greyston
Jason's father Tom, Jason's son Gavin, daughter Libby, Jason Ardenski, and his mother Kay.
Everyone was grubbin and more than pleased with the food! Sandcrab's crew approved!
BLM/ Sub-Group/ Public Meeting
After lunch, the BLM held their open-to-the-public Dumont meeting. Members of the DAC (Desert Advisory Committee) were in attendance with the BLM to discuss items such as the budget, safety concerns, Dumont user issues, and more. They keep the users informed with the management of the area that they frequently use. Some concerns in the crowd were camp speeders, off weekend law enforcement and the possibility of providing dumpsters on holiday weekends. These things will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting.
New Friends of Dumont Dunes president, Jason Ardenski, had a refreshing sense of enthusiasm as he discussed his new position and plans for future events and volunteer efforts to keep Dumont a fun and safe community. Speaking of new FoDD members, a brand new vice-president and secretary also stepped up to the plate, Heather Siders! We can't thank them enough for their dedication to keeping the FoDD organization alive and active.
"What a great day out at the clean up Saturday! This photo says it all! Smiling faces and bringing everyone together. On the right is Ed who is the founder of the local Friend groups in the Socal area, a former CORVA President and a passionate OHV advocate. In the center is Pete who created and operates DumontDuneRiders.com who is a serious OHV user and practically lives at the dunes while keeping everyone informed of what's happening out at Dumont. Then myself who began as a OHV user and now bridging the gap between the Dumont OHV users and the BLM to help make the area a thriving community again while having a great time with events like this hopefully all season long! This is just three individuals from different backgrounds, with different ideas, coming together and having a great time! Just imagine what the future will look like out at Dumont Dunes!" - Jason Ardenski
Once the meeting was over, a table of goodies was brought out by FoDD. Jason rounded these items up himself at the last minute from some great companies that were willing to donate to the cause. Kartek Off Road was generous enough to provide a ton of shirts, hats, koozies and 5 gift certificates! Rugged Radios stepped up and donated two radios, a gift card, duffel bag, hats, stickers, koozies and a banner! Even Jason's parents (also Friends of Dumont Dunes members), Tom and Kay, donated pop up trash cans, chairs, a tow strap, some tie downs, booster cables, and a fire extinguisher. Last but certainly not least, Jason personally donated several items such as a 52" LED light bar, LED flashlights and LED rock lights. His company, Impact Signs in Victorville, CA, in conjunction with Lynn Construction in El Mirage, CA even donated a 2017/2018 Dumont season pass. Impact Signs also donated some awesome RITC tumblers.
Plaques were given to those who collected the most bags as an individual and also as a group. In addition, there were winners for most unique item and largest item found.
Sponsors and Special Thanks
Jason Ardenski (president of FoDD) for EVERYTHING he did.
Barstow BLM staff- helping with the entire event, dumpsters, supplies and use of the ranger station
Rugged Radios- donations
Kartek Off Road- donations
Impact Signs in Victorville, CA- donations
Awards of Recognition in Apple Valley, CA- plaque donations
Lynn Construction in El Mirage, CA- donations
Rose Beardshear (BLM)- for all her friendly help
Friends of Dumont Dunes organization- for keeping the cleanup alive and fun
Friends of El Mirage- for initially stepping up when there might not have been any FoDD board members to help
Tom and Kay Ardenski and family- donations and cooking
Terry Allen (former president of FoDD)- for his help, guidance, and several years of hard work making the cleanup fun
Cleanup volunteers- for spending your morning picking up trash for a good cause
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