Carson River Trash

Carson local Warren Wish went for a drive down the Carson River Canyon recently, and was shocked to see how much trash has been dumped along the river.

Yet all along the way, the canyon was littered with a mixture of modern-day garbage, cast-off household rubble and evidence of the past. Impossible to ignore were the graffiti-painted cliff walls. In several places, decaying cars stuck out from the middle of the river. Dotting the canyon banks were a huge assortment of domestic waste.

Eroding living room sofas and old mattresses rested near a rusting washing machine and a bullet-punctured water heater. A broken bedroom dresser and treadmill had been dumped by the side of the road. Closer to the river, they came upon the rotting debris from an encampment. Someone had once lived there and left behind bags of garbage that had scattered in the wind. Beer cans, empty bottles and ammunition shells peppered the ground in all directions.

He took several photos of the river and managed to get them published in a special article on the Nevada Appeal’s website. At the end he and his artist friend Santiago Chavez wonder if cleaning up the canyon is going to be part of the V&T project, since the rails are going to be running right through that area in a few years. But in fact, cleaning up of the river, at least getting the debris out of the river channel itself, is part of the Carson City Aquatic Trail plan, to make the river safer for rafters and kayakers. The river is full of hazards, from crumbling dams to rusted car bodies, that can be lethal to anyone trying to float down the river, and the plan right now is to lessen those hazards and remove the trash. And hopefully a side benefit of the project, which is intended to get more people out on the river, will be increased vigilance along the canyon, which will lead to less illegal dumping overall. After all, not many people will dump their trash right on the side of a highway, because there is too great a chance of them getting caught doing it. If the river becomes more popular, and there are more eyes watching, that might discourage the dumpers and the vandals and send them scurrying away, which will lead to a cleaner river.

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