A badly abused geologic treasure at the eastern edge of Las Vegas will get some much-needed spring cleaning Saturday.
A coalition of government agencies and civic groups are leading a volunteer clean-up at the Great Unconformity Interpretive Site at the base of Frenchman Mountain just off Lake Mead Boulevard.
The Great Unconformity is a humbling gap in the geologic record that spans about 1.3 billion years and is only visible in a few places in North America.
Some people hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon just to touch the formation, but one of the easiest places in the world to see it is at the edge of a wash a few yards off Lake Mead Boulevard, where it appears as a line — a few feet long and tilted at a 50-degree angle — where rock formed 1.8 billion years ago touches rock formed 500 million years ago.
But instead of attracting science buffs, the site about a mile east of Hollywood Boulevard has become an illegal dump site and a late-night hangout for vandals. Graffiti covers almost every flat surface, and the ground is littered with trash and broken glass.
Saturday’s “community beautification” is the first step in an effort to redeem the area, said Steph Clark, chief law enforcement ranger for the Bureau of Land Management in Southern Nevada.
Phase two involves putting up signs, marking a designated parking area and eventually restoring interpretive panels that were smashed or spray-painted over a decade ago.
“In order to bring back the area, we have to put things there that bring interest,” Clark said. “What I’m trying to do is get more of the good and less of the bad.”
Saturday’s cleanup is being organized by the BLM, Clark County, the Metropolitan Police Department, Republic Services and the conservation group Get Outdoors Nevada.
Clark said County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick is the driving force behind the push to, as the flier for the event puts it, “Make the Unconformity great again.”
Eventually, Clark said, the goal is to expand the effort to include the entire area around Frenchman and Sunrise mountains, a place rich with recreational opportunities but trashed by years of neglect and illegal use.
Saturday’s cleanup is slated to last from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will include free lunch.
Volunteers are asked to register in advance at https://getoutdoorsnevada.org/events/.