HURRICANE – Volunteers turned out early Saturday morning to help Sand Hollow State Park crews clean trash and debris from the popular jumping rocks area, and the water around it.
Crews worked in land and water, as a local dive shop brought a half-dozen scuba divers to help out. Trash collected included a variety of clothing, cups, cans, glow sticks and broken glass.
The jumping rocks area has accumulated so much garbage that park officials were forced to close it for a weekend of cleanup. The area was closed Friday through Sunday for the effort.
“I’m overwhelmed at how many people took notice of the news,” Darren Tucker, assistant park manager, said. “And how many groups called and offered support.”
Rather than being upset by the closure, the public expressed support.
“I think it raised a lot of awareness,” Tucker said. “It seemed to generate a sense of support and community.”
Volunteers spent hours picking up and diving for garbage. The rocks were littered with broken glass, and Tucker said the park is considering a ban on glass containers on the jumping rocks. Glass is already prohibited in the beach areas of the park.
Members of the Desert Roads and Trails Society, a local four-wheel drive club, heard about the problem and decided to do something about it.
“We wanted to pitch into the community, help the park staff, and help keep public lands open,” Desert RATS President Jeff Bieber Sr. said. “We wish people would take responsibility and respect the natural resources that we have.”
The Desert RATS is a family-friendly off-road group whose mission is promoting and protecting public lands in Southern Utah.
Several volunteers from the Dixie Divers dive shop helped with the cleanup, arriving with scuba gear and scouring the lake bottom near the jumping rocks for garbage.
Besides trash, the divers found a few lost possessions including at least one cell phone, two GoPro cameras, several pairs of sunglasses and some jewelry. Anyone who has lost something valuable near the rocks should contact park staff, Tucker said, with a description of the missing item.
The jumping rocks are a part of a sandstone formation located near the boat ramps at Sand Hollow Reservoir. The area’s popularity has led to problems, however, as visitors have been leaving masses of trash behind and carving graffiti into the rocks.
Recently, it took more than 100 man-hours to remove the graffiti from the jumping rocks, using hand tools and an electric grinder, assistant park manager Darren Tucker said in an earlier interview.
Camp hosts and park staff clean up the trash, however many of the park’s seasonal crew members are gone for the season, leaving the park with more than they can handle.
“Even fully staffed, we can’t keep up with it,” Tucker said.
- Desert Roads and Trails Society – Desert RATS Facebook page
- Dixie Divers website, Facebook page
- Sand Hollow State Park website
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