It was a cool, brisk Saturday morning on October 1st as Todd Erickson stood in front of 30 volunteers and informed all present about the plans for the morning. Todd and his family had been working hard to prepare for this day for months in advance, and now the volunteers were gathered to carry out the task at hand. That task was to clean up the thousands of plastic tree protectors along the mountain side in the vicinity of King’s and Ash Canyons.
The Waterfall fire of 2004 scorched much of the landscape along what is now the Ash to King’s Trail. After the fire was out, plastic tree protectors were put in place to assist seedlings in the recovery process. Over 12 years later, the plastic devices lay scattered about the mountain, some still wrapped around the base of young pine trees.
After receiving the safety brief from Muscle Powered’s Trail Coordinator, Jeff Potter, the volunteers split up into 4-wheel drive vehicles and the entire crew, including a Carson City Search and Rescue contingent, convoyed to the top of the Ash To King’s Trail, where the real work began. Armed with nothing more than plastic trash bags, volunteers gathered up thousands of the plastic tree protectors that lay littered along the hillsides. Teams made quick work of designated areas, as Todd Erickson had done his homework and marked several spots on the map where large concentrations of the plastic devices were located. SAR lent a helping hand and got some good training at the same time, practicing maneuvering a single-wheeled gurney loaded down with heaps of over-stuffed trash bags filled with the plastic tree protectors.
The volunteers worked throughout the morning, gathering hundreds of large leaf bags filled with the plastic tree protectors. There were so many bags that it proved difficult to get them all to the bottom of the hill where there was a 20-yard dumpster waiting to be filled with the debris. Pick-up trucks were piled high with the trash bags and the loads were strapped down to keep from falling during the descent.
The event proved to be the largest attended Trash Mob to date. 30 volunteers worked 140 man-hours and filled a 20-yard dumpster (which was donated by Waste Management) to the brim with the trash collected. Todd Erickson, his wife Andrea, and his son Ari were all instrumental in putting this event together. Many local businesses were contacted and made donations to the effort. After the work was completed, the volunteers gather back at Longview Park where food and beverages were waiting and the rest of the donated prizes were raffled off. Businesses that made contributions to the Trah Mob included: Bike Habitat, Bike Smith, Yogurt Beach, Greenhouse Garden Center, Sani-Hut, Trader Joe’s, Home Depot, Jamba Juice, Target, San Marcos Grill, US Sub Base, Cracker Box, Grocery Outlet, Walmart (Topsy Ln), Costco, Duncan Donuts, and Capital Automotive.
The people of Carson City owe a debt of gratitude the Erickson family, all the generous local business owners who helped out, the Carson City Search and Rescue team that participated, and all the incredible volunteers who worked so hard climbing up and down the hillside, often in treacherous terrain, to clean up one of the most valuable resources to our community. Thanks to everyone for a job well done.