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The Illegal Dumping of Trash is ‘Completely Out of Control’ In The High Desert

PHOTO: I.I. Cabrera -

Do Tires Grow In The Desert? CR&R employees unloaded the tires from the vehicles that participated in the tire amnesty day event.

Recently, the PPHCSD partnered with CR&R to bring a tire amnesty day to Tri-Community residents. Participants were allowed to bring up to nine non-commercial off-the-rim tires at a time to the CR&R facility in Phelan free of charge.  In total, six 26-foot containers were filled with 1,800 tires collected from 125 resident participants.  The High Desert (HD) Keepers participated in this event and brought in over 10 percent of the haul, with 247 tires.

On the day of the event, vehicles started lining up to drop off tires at the CR&R facility before 7am says Dan Ross, the Operations Manager.  Because of this, he decided to open a little earlier than the announced 8am start time.  Events like this are held approximately every three months and are intended “to clean up the tires that are dumped in the desert.” 

Scott Brown is the President and founder of the HD Keepers.  A nonprofit organization that cleans up the trash left behind by illegal dumping.  Since undertaking this mission in December of 2016, the Keepers have cleaned over 413 tons.  That equals 838,000 pounds and means they are nearing the milestone of one million pounds of trash removed from the High Desert. 

Recently, Brown petitioned the state of California to fund the Tire Abatement Program.  A program that would pay people to pick up and recycle tires.  If funded, the program would provide the Keepers with a permanent home where they could collect the tires and pay the bounty for them.  From there, the tires would be transported to the Mitsubishi Cement Plant or another partner site for proper disposal. 

Since beginning their mission, the HD Keepers have removed 2,691 tires from the desert. 

According to Brown, the current state of illegal dumping in the High Desert is “completely out of control.  And now, with the illegal grows, it has increased by at least fifty percent.” Immediately following the decriminalizing of marijuana in California with the passage of Prop 64, within a week, he was picking up trash after illegal grows. “It’s pretty easy to pick out an illegal dump from a grow because there’s always the debris from the plants.”  Grows commonly leave behind PVC tubing, foam cubes that are used as starters for plants, fertilizer, and any other garbage they want to dispose of.

On Saturday, October 9, a fundraiser will be held at the Big Rock Inn for the HD Keepers.  It will have live music, a classic car show, and several vendors. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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