Giving back to the community and Public Lands Day

  • Community Events
Debbi Lehr

Sage Ridge School Development Director, Debbi Lehr, and her husband, Damon, hosted a community clean-up day at the Jumbo Grade Trailhead this past Saturday, September 26th in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management’s “Public Lands Day”. More than 80 volunteers and BLM leaders joined them on Saturday for the event. “I am grateful to every person and organization that showed up. I was pleasantly surprised of the number of people that came out and how much we got accomplished,” said Debbi Lehr. This started as an idea when the Lehr’s were on a Side By Side ride one day and seeing how many more people were using the trail because of the stay at home order issued back in March. With that influx of use they saw that there was ten times the litter, illegal dumping, and trash left behind. “We decided to host a clean-up day of the trail behind our house that is a well-used off-road trail to Virginia City. We thought we would invite a few of the side by side rider groups that we ride with and from there it flourished into the boy scouts, BLM, churches, and neighbors, too.” As the interest began to grow, the Lehr’s realized they needed help and sponsors for items such as gloves, trash bags, water and a way to haul it all off.  They were pleasantly surprised when the community began donating money for the event and then got a sponsorship from TrashCo, Hooten Tires, Bureau of Land Management, and Home Depot.

The clean-up event resulted in over 1.69 tons of trash and litter and 21 tires to recycle -- a massive success by any measure! Unfortunately, it only made a small dent in cleaning up all the litter present in the massive area of trails in the Washoe Valley. The Lehr’s are fully aware that there is no way they can clean up the entire Virginia Range trail area, but they are willing to try with the help of the community. The Bureau of Land Management has asked Mrs. Lehr to make this an annual event, which was fully supported by all of those who turned out for the event. “We just want to teach everyone the importance of “Pack it in, Pack it out”. With so many more people using public lands now it is really important that we all pitch in.”  The Virginia Range Mustang group, who also attended the event, also wants to remind everyone that the illegal dumping and littering also poses a danger to the wild horses in the area.

“In the current environment of looking for a way to give back, there are very few options because of the restrictions of “social distancing”, so getting outside seem to be everyone’s answer. Why not use your time outside to help better the area for everyone’s use?” said Lehr.  “I will be happy to make this an annual event and to help others plan one of their own.”

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