The High Desert Keepers are a official 501(C)3 nonprofit located in Pinon Hills, California. We have a board of Directors consisting of five members. We currently have over 100 registered volunteers and are growing every day.
We are supported by the County of San Bernardino, Supervisor Lovingood’s office, San Bernardino County Code Enforcement, The Sierra Club of the Mojave Desert, The Transition Habitat Conservancy, The Pinon Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Phelan Chamber of Commerce, The Phelan, Pinon Hills Community Improvement Association, the Tri Community Kiwanis Club, the Serrano High School Key Club, and various small businesses, civic and community groups.
Our core purpose is cleaning up the illegal dumping in the High Desert. The High Desert has been experiencing a huge increase in illegal dumping. The problem is massive. Drive down any dirt road and you do not have to look far to find large piles of trash, construction waste, appliances, boats, and tires, thousands and thousands of tires!
The response from the community to our organization and projects has been nearly overwhelming and certainly greatly appreciated.
This organization was formed to not only deal directly, swiftly, and aggressively with the problem, but to also institute programs designed to aid law enforcement in the apprehension and prosecution of illegal dumping. We want to make it very public that we are doing so in an attempt to dramatically minimize illegal dumping or better yet, stop it entirely. And it must stop. This is our back yard and the vast general public consensus is the desire to see it stopped.
The very first cleanup project that inspired the formation of The High Desert Keepers was back in 2009. Scott Brown, our founder and President, rallied the help of his neighbors to clean up what had been years of illegal dumping on Pipeline Rd. that runs parallel to Highway 2 between Desert Front Rd. and Scrub Oak Rd. That group filled a 40 yard dumpster graciously donated by CR&R. That was the inspiration to form the organization.
Back in December of 2016, the organization did its first official cleanup project named Operation Pionero, on Pionero Rd. where we filled two 40 yard dumpsters again donated by CR&R and pulled out about 150 tires over the course of a weekend with the help of 15 volunteers. We barely made a dent in just the immediate area. We have to date removed 47 tons of trash and over 1,000 tires in several operations.
We are going to continue in any way we can to locate, clean up, and monitor dumping areas. Between Oasis rd to the west, Sheep Creek Rd to the east, Powerline Rd to the north, and Phelan Rd to the south, we have identified over 250 dump sites after covering about 75% of that area. Many other dumpsites have been identified outside of that area. We are barraged with phone calls from people reporting illegal dumping.
Our work is certainly cut out for us and we DO need ALL the help we can get!
Operation Enforcement is an ongoing project as previously described. Its goal is to aid law enforcement in the apprehension and prosecution of illegal dumpers.
It is our opinion that the majority of the illegal dumping is being performed by contractors. And when we say contractors, we are not so much speaking of licensed general contractors or licensed businesses, even though we can’t rule that out, but we a speaking of people hired by others to clean up trash and debris and haul it to the landfill.
People who hire others off of sites such as Craigslist, pay them to clean up and haul trash to the landfill, and these “contractors” forgo the landfill and drop it off in the desert pocketing the land fill fees. We are going to put an end to that.
Working with Law Enforcement and Code Enforcement, we will be using wildlife cameras, and live streaming video surveillance in areas that are problematic allowing us to provide Law Enforcement the evidence they need to prosecute these dumpers. We are looking into the possibility of patrols as well. We will be posting signs in problem areas warning potential dumpers of surveillance activities and reminding them of the penalties. We will also be working with the county and state though our forming Political Action Committee to increase the penalties, raising fines and potential jail time as well as mandatory vehicle forfeiture through new legislation.
OPERATION TIRE ABATEMENT
Tires are a monumental problem, there are thousands and thousands of old tires that have been dumped in the desert. Whereas there are individual tires here and there, most of the problem consists of large plies, again, placed there by contractors.
Once they are cleaned up, there is an entirely new problem, disposal. The cost to an individual to properly dispose of a tire is $5.75 at the county transfer station. This scenario does not inspire cooperation.
It is our intention to create programs that make it easier and less expensive, if not free, for people properly dispose of tires.
We are looking into the possibility of setting up a central location where people can bring tires to us for free basically anytime during normal business hours and provide an afterhours drop off location. We can take those tires and dispose of them in many different ways. We can procure a shredding machine, an expensive proposition, but one that will pay off in the long run. We can, with our volunteers, actually make things with the tires. We can also work with other entities to properly dispose of them. The goal is to take away the motivation to dump tires off in the desert or on the side of the road. Towards this end, we have already secured our California Tire Hauling Permit.
OPERATION GARBAGE DISPOSAL
We will offer our service, volunteers, trucks, facilities, tools, whatever is needed and available to anyone or any group with the need. If someone has trash that needs to be hauled off, then can call us. If they do not have the means to pay us, we will do it for free.
The goal is to make sure the trash gets to where it needs to go, and not be dumped out in the desert. If any neighborhood, group, or organization wants to do a cleanup, and we are available, we will be there to help in any way we can.
We all have the same goal, clean it up and keep it clean, remember, this is our back yard, this is our desert!
We have big plans, and we are just starting out. We need all the help we can get!
We need money, of course, we need tools, rakes, shovels, trash cans, trash bags, gloves, hats, trucks, a tractor or two, the list is long. We have a wish list on our website and on Amazon.com. We are now able to accept tax deductible contributions. Checks can be made out to High Desert Keepers or HDK. Donations can also be made through PayPal or credit/debit cards through our main page or by clicking Support in the top right hand corner.
There are other programs we will be working on in the future, but for now, as you can see, we have our work cut out for us. We want to be the go-to folks to deal with these issues in the high desert working with the government, other nonprofits, and the community in any way we can to help anyone we can.
Our organization can be reached through our Facebook page: High Desert Keepers, or our website, http://www.highdesertkeepers.org.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Scott Brown, (President and Founder) directly by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone: 760 792-7399. You may also contact Dan Sousa (Vice President) also by email: email@example.com, or telephone: 760-488-0544. Our other board members include Morgan Reed , Treasurer, and Stephanie Dalbeck, our Secretary, and Charles Gallard, Board Member.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about us.
President and Founder
The High Desert Keepers