FANs Volunteers Remove Destructive Weeds for Earth Day Cleanup, April 22, 2023
By Marilynne Keyser, FANs Native Plant Coordinator
Over 20 FANs volunteers turned out on April 22, 2023, to remove flannel mullein and medusahead in the Deschutes/Steelhead Wilderness Study Area near Steelhead Falls.
Jeff Scheetz organized the event which also included Lisa Clark, BLM Deschutes field manager, Dan Shaneyfelt, BLM Deschutes resource planner, and Nick Beheler, BLM law enforcement ranger. Volunteers spent over 150 hours pulling invasive flannel mullein and medusahead near Steelhead Falls, and weeding around FANs Building. We were especially glad to have a group of American Heritage Girls from Crooked River Ranch join us.
Deschutes Wild & Scenic River Area focus of FANs cleanup, once again, April 23, 2022
By Jeff Scheetz, FANs Stewardship Coordinator
Have you ever been enjoying the wonders of nature while hiking in the wild, and then stumble upon a pile of trash? This disgusting scenario repeats itself far too often on our public lands.
On April 23rd, in celebration of Earth Day, 13 members of Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs) expended 70 volunteer hours collecting trash in the W&SR section of the Deschutes River south of Lower Bridge Way. This area contains many illegal spur roads into the protected land along the canyon rim. After some reconnaissance hikes, we identified about a dozen sites for clean-up. Typical trash (estimated at 40 large bags total) included beverage containers, food packaging material, auto parts, and clothing. Surprisingly, major appliances (a washing machine and TV) were found and presented some additional transport challenges.
With the approval of BLM, one new tool used by FANs this year was the addition of two ATVs and a small utility trailer, owned and operated by Robin Galloway, FANs president, and her husband, Mike. They used the quads to access areas which were too rugged to get into with regular vehicles. The volunteers picked up and bagged trash, then the Galloways were able to collect the bags and take them to the main staging area. Along the way, they cleaned out every trash-filled fire ring. BLM also provided trash bags and trucks to assist in collection along the one legal road and hauled everything to a landfill.
FANs has been working with public land managers for years to mitigate such abuse on public lands. We believe public education is a first and necessary step to stem the frequency of mistreated sites. Placing “NO Motor Vehicle” signs plays an important role here and can be readily accomplished by volunteers. To combat the persistent violators, physical barriers on illegal roads are unfortunately required. Lastly, law enforcement action (citations and fines) can impact public perception of risks resulting from unlawful behavior.
We wish to thank all volunteers, acting individually or in groups, for helping preserve our fragile environment through education, outreach and stewardship.
Many of our members volunteer for specific stewardship projects throughout the year, and we deeply appreciate their commitment. As a non-staffed organization that is growing quickly, FANs leadership is additionally looking for volunteers for very specific needs. If you are willing to make a commitment for at least a year, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org