Summerlin plans desert cleanup

Valley residents are invited to join The Howard Hughes Corp., developer of Summerlin, by participating in a desert cleanup event today. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the western end of Far Hills Avenue, west of Interstate 215, the Las Vegas Beltway. The cleanup area includes several acres of undeveloped land immediately west of The Vistas village. Volunteers are encouraged to wear sturdy closed-toe shoes, gloves, sun block and dress in layers.

According to Tom Warden, senior vice president of community and government relations for The Howard Hughes Corp., desert dumping has become a major problem threatening the scenic beauty and well-being of our valley.

"On an annual basis, we spend thousands of dollars removing items that have been illegally dumped on undeveloped land in Summerlin," Warden said. "Many of these items would have been picked up curbside by Republic Services. It doesn't make sense to transport your trash and illegally dump it. Not only are dumpers going out of their way to break the law, they are also risking citations and fines."

The Howard Hughes Corp. has enlisted the support of several local businesses, organizations and volunteer groups to assist with this cleanup. Onsite professional contractors include Panacea Services, Valley Crest Landscape Maintenance, The Groundskeeper, Par 3 Landscape & Maintenance, TruGreen and LandCare. Republic Services will be donating several large trash dumpsters.

Friends of Red Rock Canyon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Red Rock Canyon, will be onsite to provide logistical support and manpower. Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Wolfson, representatives from Keep Las Vegas Beautiful and dozens of volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will also be involved.

"We wouldn't be able to accomplish what we accomplish without our volunteers," Warden said. "We thank them for their time and energy in helping us with this worthwhile cause."

This is second desert cleanup in less than one year. In October 2009, the company joined forces with Don't Trash Nevada, Public Lands Institute, Get Outdoors Nevada, Southern Nevada Health District, Clark County and the Bureau of Land Management for a massive 200-plus acre cleanup of public and private land located near Bishop Gorman High School. In three hours, more than 325 tons of illegally dumped items had been removed. "This demonstrates the severity of desert dumping," Warden said.

In addition to organizing the desert cleanups, The Howard Hughes Corp. is working with various government organizations to create an ongoing stewardship program to prevent future dumping in the area through increased signage, more robust enforcement, partnerships with nearby residents and increased rewards for reporting illegal dumpers.

"We'll continue to organize desert cleanup events on an ongoing basis, as needed," Warden said. "But we hope desert dumping will decrease as more and more valley residents become involved and aware of the problem."

To report illegal dumping, call the Southern Nevada Health District at 759-0600. For more information on the clean-up event, visit or call 234-5305.