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Land to be used, not trashed
by Sarah Cooper
Apr 09, 2010 | 1759 views | 5 5 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Dan McGee
This weekend's clean up of the Hungry Valley OHV area by members of MRANN involves both adults and kids. In a scene that will be  repeated this weekend, Jacob Panissidi was helping his mother Carol at a previous clean up.
Tribune/Dan McGee This weekend's clean up of the Hungry Valley OHV area by members of MRANN involves both adults and kids. In a scene that will be repeated this weekend, Jacob Panissidi was helping his mother Carol at a previous clean up.
Tribune/Dan McGee
Junk, like this discarded stroller and baby seat, will disspear this weekend as members of MRANN collect this and other trash as they preform their annual clean up of the Hungry Valley OHV area outside of Lemmon Valley.
Tribune/Dan McGee Junk, like this discarded stroller and baby seat, will disspear this weekend as members of MRANN collect this and other trash as they preform their annual clean up of the Hungry Valley OHV area outside of Lemmon Valley.
HUNGRY VALLEY — Dave Kostelny and riders from the United Trails Association (UTA) have found some strange things in Hungry Valley.

“We have found multiple animals in a bag stuffed in a car,” said Kostelny, the president of UTA and a man better known to dirt bike riders as Dirty Dave. “The things we pick up the most of are things that blow up: propane tanks, Coleman camp stove tanks, also computers, TVs, home appliances, yard cleanup clippings. People dump the poo from their dog runs out there in plastic bags.”

Eventually, Kostelny, one of the hundreds of dirt bike riders who use the valley, got tired of being blamed for the garbage carnage.

For the fourth year, he will set up camp in the valley and host a weekend-long cleanup event. The UTA and others will be searching for trash in the valley today and Sunday.

The 44,000-acre Hungry Valley is Bureau of Land Management land that is used for dirt biking, shooting, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and other recreation. According to a UTA study, about 200,000 people use the valley every year.

Hungry Valley is designated by the BLM as an off-highway vehicle (OHV) area, meaning dirt biking and four-wheeling is allowed.

“OHV use is popular,” said Mark Struble, public affairs officer for the Nevada office of the BLM. “As long as people stay on existing roads, it is certainly a legitimate use of public land. We just ask that people stay on trails and clean up after themselves.”

However, with the use comes some garbage. Since the first year of the annual UTA cleanup in 2006, the organization has removed more than 270 yards of trash from Hungry Valley, according to Kostelny.

One reason for the annual cleanup is an effort to keep the valley open to dirt bikers, who are one of the more noticeable groups to use the land. The group is also often pointed to as contributing to a growing land use problem.

“And we do cause some (problems),” Kostelny said. “The dust and the noise and the erosion. But we get blamed for the illegal dumping out there.”

To give back, the riders host the cleanup. CastAway Trash Hauling donates the use of two dumpsters for the weekend so the riders have a place to put the trash they find.

While Struble said most illegal dumping on BLM lands happens closer to the city, he did add that trash cleanup in Hungry Valley was necessary.

“Target shooters, 99 percent of time they don’t pick up after themselves and what they shoot they leave behind,” Struble said. “After they get the new flat-screen (TV) they take the good old Sony and shoot it up. But they don’t clean up after they are done. That is a real problem.”

Kostelny said most of the trash they find is from shooters, specifically things that “go boom,” such as propane tanks and portable fuel sources.

“We are in danger of having that area shut down because of illegal dumping and shooting,” he said. “We figure that if we keep it clean, it is much less likely to close. We want to remedy the problems that could close it even if it's not our fault.

“When I go out riding, I don’t strap a washing machine and a six pack of beer to my back,” Kostelny added. “People are running willy-nilly all over it and that’s not what that land was intended to be used for.”

For more information about the UTA, visit
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Baja Joe
April 20, 2010
Congrats UTA for doing what it takes to make a difference. So many dirt bikers, shooters, campers, etc. use our lands and never leave a spec of trash or brass.

But, It’s the bad apple locals who live near by that dump their trash and don’t pick up after themselves. Period. End of story. Same problem everywhere.

I can see how some users might feel the heat from this article. Guess what... Us OHVers have been under INTENSE blame for all that is wrong with the trash in the desert for decades.

Why not join UTA and help clean up the desert? Anyone who wants to be part of the solution to promote resposible public land use can be a member of UTA. Even if you do not ride a dirt bike.

I too have picked up beer cans, tv sets, washing machines, and shot gun shells and spent brash. Until you have crawled around on your hands and knees picking up other peoples trash... You just don’t know how lucky we are to have UTA doing this work.

Time for all users to show up at UTAs Annual Clean Up. This clean up effort is not all about dirt bikers... Its about all users making an effort to keep an area we all use CLEAN and OPEN for all to use.

I hope more Reno area users show up next year and help UTA Clean Up The Desert.


Baja Joe
Grateful LS
April 20, 2010
No apologies necessary DirtyDave. One would be offended if they fall into the catagory of a Target Shooter who does not clean up their rounds, you made that clear in your statement. Someone always has to find a reason to present a ridiculous argument. It would be much more productive for them to grab a bag themselves and pick up the trash left by their irresponsible Target Shooter counterparts, than to sit at home and cloud the the issues you have taken initiative to rectify!

The issue here Mr. DCReno, is that some irresponsibles are going to ruin the privilege we have in Nevada to use BLM.

Perhaps you and your other responsible shooters could organize a similar clean-up effort. Instead of creating another issue to argue, you could become a part of the solution for this one.
April 13, 2010
Hey DCReno,

I am very sorry to have not asked them to mention in the article (we have in other articles)that there are good and bad in apples in EVERY barrel of course. We know and have witnessed many who use the area properly and DO CARE! Please note that I always try to refer to ILLEGAL dumping and ILLEGAL shooting. If you are shooting legally then you are not in this catogory and we respect and applaud you. I can tell you this, 99% of the stuff we pick up out there (I have been photo-documenting this for years) comes from ILLEGAL dumpers and ILLEGAL shooters... (leaving brass, plastic shells and live rounds behind is littering plain and simple)

I am not talking about leaving beer cans or camping/party trash.... I am talking about cleaning out your garage and dumping it in the Desert to be shot up and blown around in the wind... or to haul items out specifically to be shot and then left behind....

This should be more about community coming together and problem solving, rather than finger pointing... if we all chipped in.... things would be better. The UTA is pushing for more designated shooting area's where they will be happy and not have to worry about crossfire or the random dirtbikers popping out near their targets.

Thank you for your points and positve input. Feel free to contact me or join in any time.

Dave Kostelny, UTA Founder and President. 530-277-5981
April 13, 2010
DCReno- You are very correct. There are several legal shooters that use the area as intended just as you have described. I am a shooter and a gun enthusiast myself. I do not shoot up my children’s toys or old TV sets and leave the garbage behind. UTA is not in any way grouping anyone together and it may seem that way from this article. The UTA has been on our knees (literally) picking up trash in the valley for many years and the majority of the garbage that we find is from the illegal dumpers and shooters that are shooting at the dumpsites. There are local and state laws that give guidelines and laws on where and how you can shoot. You cannot shoot towards a access point and that is happening all over the Hungry Valley. There are canyons behind some of the most popular shooting areas and a missed or stray shot will send a bullet right into the canyon where riders enjoy the existing trails. Ultimately we would like to see a specific area that is reinforced for shooting. Although, the use of the area is for every user group not just one. As a dirt bike rider I am often criticized for ALL the problems of the area including the illegal dumping of household and electronic garbage. Since that is ALWAYS illegal that should remain the focus. Most of the illegal dump sites are shot up by shooters and that does indicate that the shooters are also the possible illegal dumpers in some instances. I would suggest that you join our efforts to clean up the valley and report illegal dumpsites when you notice them. or contact our president Dave (530) 277-5981. We will do everything we can to help the legal users of this area to continue with its intended use. Thank you for your response. Christie Brown- UTA

April 10, 2010
PLEASE dont lump ALL shooters together .we go out there and shoot and we never leave a trace . SINCE WHEN WAS IT ILLEGAL TO SHOOOT THERE?shooters are being told different..and OBVIOUSLY WE ARE GOING MILES FROM RIDERS TO BE SAFE . but the last 2 times out there we were invaded by rude riders .also,we pick up our brass ALWAYS!!WE DO NOT BRING JUNK TO SHOOT AT AND LEAVE THERE.and we do see the trash that riders leave also the rock crawler crowd as well . please dont accuse and/or assume that all shooteres are this rude.some of us are nice folks and think what you are doing is a great thing..
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