National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
TULE SPRINGS FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT News Release
For Immediate Release: April 11, 2015
Release No.: 2015-02
VOLUNTEERS REMOVE ABOUT 9 PICKUP TRUCK LOADS OF DEBRIS FROM NEW MONUMENT
LAS VEGAS – More than 60 volunteers participated in the first official event at Nevada’s newest national park, April 11. They removed about nine pickup truck loads of debris from Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.
With buckets and trash-pickers resting against the fenceline, the community members gathered around before the cleanup to hear a few words from the park’s first superintendent, Vince Santucci.
“This is clearly a historic day,” he said. “We’re going to cleanup this monument, so paleontologists can get to areas they’ve never been to before. Most of history is yet to be discovered.
“We’re clearing it off for future scientists and future generations, and we’re making it healthy for desert wildlife,” he added.
Many of the volunteers were supporters from the Protectors of Tule Springs, Las Vegas Ice Age Park Foundation and other community members who fought for years to have the park established as a national monument.
The youngest volunteers were Gemma and Samson Welcher who are 7 and 10 respectively. Prior to the cleanup, they were sworn in as the national monument’s first Junior Paleontologists.
“It’s really cool,” said Gemma.
Samson echoed her excitement, adding that he hoped to see a fossil while he picked up trash.
The two did discover some Columbian Mammoth fossils along with a very rare critically endangered Las Vegas Bearpoppy that was in bloom.
Volunteers spread out across the southern portion of the monument and collected wheelbarrows and buckets full of cement, carpet, glass and other debris that had been dumped in the desert. They filled a 30-yard dumpster that was donated by Republic Services.
People driving by and homeowners who live on the edge the monument waved and offered thumbs’ up as they passed by, signifying their appreciation for the hard work the volunteers were doing.
It’s estimated that the nearly 200 volunteer hours provided April 11 saved the government and American taxpayers thousands of dollars.
The National Park Service will plan future events in the fall when temperatures are cooler. In the interim, Santucci asks that visitors pack out what they pack in.
“Thanks for allowing the National Park Service to be a part of your dream and a part of your vision,” said Santucci.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hi-res photos are available for download at https://www.flickr.com/photos/132515619@N03/sets/72157651442267447/