Volunteers collected about 150 pounds of trash at a park in southwest Las Vegas on Saturday to celebrate Nevada Public Lands Day.
More than 80 people participated in the clean-up organized by the non-profit organization Get Outdoors Nevada at Mountain’s Edge Regional Park, 8101 W. Mountains Edge Parkway. Groups of gloved volunteers wandered the park, using orange tongs to add litter to the growing piles in their buckets.
Rachel Bergren, executive director of Get Outdoors Nevada, said the volunteers are also focusing on picking up micro-waste: small pieces of waste that are usually ignored but can harm wildlife when consumed.
“It was a giant garbage heap,” Bergren said after the event.
Bergren said events like Saturday’s are important in bringing attention to public parks, especially as outdoor recreation and attendance at state and national parks have increased.
“We learned during the pandemic how important time spent outdoors is for our mental and physical health,” she said.
At a post-cleanup press conference, state treasurer Zach Conine said Nevada intends to invest money in upgrading state park facilities that have been visited frequently throughout the pandemic, so that they are “available for generations to come”.
“Our public lands are under threat,” Conine said. “They continue to be decimated by climate-related weather events – forest fires, droughts, extreme heat waves. We have a responsibility to move forward and act.
Nevada Outdoor Recreation Division Administrator Colin Robertson highlighted two recent allocations of federal funds that will be used for public lands: a $ 160,000 grant to create the first vocational school for recreational trail construction of the country in Ely; and more than $ 3.5 million from the Federal Development Administration to “invest in projects and initiatives related to outdoor recreation.”
“This is a significant investment in Nevada and our state’s future of outdoor recreation, especially given the significant returns these investments provide to local communities,” he said.