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Staff Photo by Jason Smith
Bryan L'Ecuyer, 11, rake up nails from the ground near Mule Canyon on Friday. More than 1,000 people are expected to clean up Calico Mountain on Saturday.

Over 1,000 expected for Calico clean up

CALICO — Mark Watkins was camping with some friends enjoying the scenery of Mule Canyon three miles east of Calico when he saw a unnatural sight: kitchen appliances.

“There were all these microwaves, TVs and propane bottles from groups going out there and just dumping stuff,” he said. “It’s a shame. The whole historic mining area up there; it’s just so beautiful.”

Watkins, a member of the Los Angeles Toyota Land Cruiser Association, coordinated a volunteer effort last year among fellow off-roaders, the Discovery Trails organization and the Bureau of Land Management to clear the canyon of trash. Now they’re doing it again.

The clean up event will take place on Saturday. It is expected to draw over 1,000 volunteers, up from 750 last year, said Rose Beardshear, volunteer coordinator with the Barstow office of the BLM.

Last year, volunteers from neighboring counties and states removed five abandoned vehicles, posted signs for several miles of trails and collected about 13 tons of trash from the Calico Mountain area. The event was the largest volunteer effort of its kind undertaken in the history of the Barstow field office, Beardshear said.

She said that some of the BLM’s open areas for off-highway vehicle use such as Stoddard Valley and Johnson Valley are somewhat polluted, but the Calico Mountain area is improving due to last year’s clean up efforts.

“It’s not as bad as some areas,” she said. “But it definitely could be a lot better.”

Jerry L'Ecuyer, who traveled the two hours from his Anaheim home in his Toyota Land Cruiser to participate in the clean up, said he hopes the event gives people a better impression of off-roaders.

“It’s only a few people who give the rest of us a bad name,” he said.

If you go

What: Calico clean up. Members of the public are invited to participate in the event. Participants should bring gloves, work clothes and a vehicle suitable for off road use.

Where: Parking lot of the Desert Discovery Center 831 Barstow Road.

When: Registration is from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday.

Contact the writer:

(760) 256-4126 or

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