Volunteers Take Pride in Dunes - Article

Imperial Sand Dune Recreation Area • Including Buttercup & Gordon's Well

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Volunteers Take Pride in Dunes - Article

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Volunteers take pride in dunes
January 16, 2011|By WILLIAM ROLLER


GLAMIS — People arrive at the Imperial sand dunes from all over the map, but local residents feel blessed to have the dunes in their own backyard.

The people out here want to make sure the dunes stay clean and open for years to come, said Charla Teeters, program manager for United Desert Gateway. The UDG is a nonprofit that has focused on dune safety and litter education since 2004.

The UDG helped register volunteers at 14th annual dunes cleanup. Members greeted riders at one of eight booths near Glamis Flats and Gordons Well. More than 3,000 volunteers were expected. Clear skies and temperatures in the mid-70s made the day one of the more popular events this year, said Teeters.

For each full bag of trash turned in, volunteers got a ticket for one of more than 250 prizes. Prizes were awarded at the conclusion of the cleanup at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Lunch was served at Glamis Flats and Gordons Well. Hamburgers, hotdogs and chips were provided by Rally’s. And fruit juice, water and energy drinks were offered by Monster Energy Drinks.

“I like to see people take pride in the land they enjoy,” Teeters said. “And I’d like to thank all the volunteers for the good service.”

Things have changed at the dunes recently with more security, Tim Worrell, who was riding in a Yamaha Rhino, said. Worrell, a former relief pitcher with the Padres, was out with his six boys from Phoenix.

“People out here now, really enjoy riding and respect the dunes,” he said. “They’re more careful about trash because they want to come back. That’s what I always tell my kids.”

The day is mostly hard work and never a pretty job, but worth the effort, Cindy Lazenby said. Lazenby, from San Diego, has been coming to the dunes for 10 years. Last year, she won a cordless LED flashlight for her cleanup efforts.

“And I got some new tires from Santa this Christmas,” Lazenby noted.

But not all volunteers were doing cleanup. Jeff Green, a general contractor, volunteers with De Anza Rescue. The group assists the Sheriff’s Department, since 1969, to locate lost or distressed individuals.

Green said he does not enjoy being called at 2 a.m., but once the sheriff informs him of a dilemma, “the adrenaline starts flowing,” he said.

“It’s a challenge if you’re out there and lost,” Green said. “Immediately I’m thinking, ‘How can I find you and what’s the best way to use our resources.’”

Scott Romano and his girlfriend, Laura Sisco, arrived from Phoenix. Romano, originally from New Jersey, said, there is no legal off-road riding available there. He used to pay to ride a dirt track in Pennsylvania, he recalled.

“But this is a fun place to be,” Romano said. “People are really nice and nothing compares to this place.”

Staff Writer William Roller can be reached at 760-337-3435 or wroller@ivpressonline.com

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