Debris from cleanup will be part of Summerlin student’s statue

Updated October 7, 2018 - 7:36 pm

Tahoe Mack plans to collect trash this weekend to help create her treasure: a 14-foot-tall, steel Columbian mammoth statue inspired by Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.

On Saturday, the 18-year-old senior at Bishop Gorman High will be among volunteers cleaning up the lands of Tule Springs as part of an event hosted by the Protectors of Tule Springs and the National Park Service. Waste will be sorted and used to create Mack’s Monumental Mammoth, a design concept she conceived at 15 for her Girl Scouts Gold Award.

“If people know that the trash they’re collecting is going to (be used to) build a giant mammoth, it’s going to make people want to come out,” she said.

About 70 people have signed up for the cleanup, which begins at North Durango Drive at Moccasin Road, said Sherri Grotheer, a Protectors of Tule Springs board member.

“All of the glass we find will be the base of the statue,” Grotheer said. “People have used Tule Springs as their dumping ground … their unoffical shooting area. All of those activities had a detrimental effect on some really important, significant assets out there. We’re going to create this beautiful structure out of what other people saw as trash.”

Two more cleanups to collect materials for the statue are planned this year. The next is Nov. 3. The statue’s budget is $150,000; Grotheer says her group has raised enough to buy steel for the statue’s interior and pay the first artist to do the internal steel structure.

“We expect to start the internal structure in about November, and that should be the preliminary kind of cutting and piecing the big sections together,” Grotheer said. “That should be done in early 2019, and then we’ll start with the fabrication process for the exterior. That fabrication process will take a while.”

The statue will serve as a trailhead for a series of walking trails the City of North Las Vegas is working to develop, Grotheer said. Its location hasn’t been announced.

“What Tule Springs represents is 500,000 years of geological time,” Grotheer said. “That’s the amount of time they’re able to track in the desert strata out there. That is two complete glacial advances and ice ages interspersed with warming periods. The mammoth will represent a piece of Nevada history almost wiped away.”

Contact Mia Sims at Follow @miasims___ on Twitter.

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