BASS LAKE – Once a year, like-minded individuals dedicated to making the world a more beautiful place, gather at Bass Lake for a tidy fling known as the Bass Lake Spring Clean.
This year’s clean up is set for Saturday, May 11, with registration starting at 9 a.m., and complimentary coffee and snacks for the volunteers.
While Bass Lake may appear pristine, upon closer examination, it will certainly benefit from some attention.
“There’s plenty of trash, especially when you look closely at it,” says Michelle Feuerstein, one of the clean up organizers. “Trash continually gets dumped; it’s not something that ends.”
Feuerstein is the Operations Manager of the Northern Sierra National Forest, with California Land Management’s (CLM) Sierra Recreation Division. They run campgrounds and day use areas around Bass Lake and beyond.
“Volunteer Skip Bullock welcomes people and explains to volunteers what the Spring Clean is all about,” says Feuerstein. “The volunteers then get their garbage bags and rubber gloves, and some then drive to other areas of the lake. The more people disperse around the area, the more trash they get.”
Who would think that little bread ties and twists rank among the biggest offenders when it comes to picking up small pieces of trash? Another common and easy-to-miss polluter is the sheer plastic straw cover – the cello – from those ubiquitous kids’ juice drinks. That’s not all volunteers will turn up.
“You find everything from old tires people have dumped, to brake rotors, broken ice chests and Styrofoam,” Feuerstein lists. “We even had a mattress one year. It’s amazing and it’s fun when someone brings in something unusual. It’s always interesting to see what shows up on the mound of garbage.”
Individuals who attend will be given a raffle ticket for participating. In the past, prizes have been given away courtesy of local businesses around the lake and nearby, including T-shirts and gift certificates and other great (and often valuable) surprises. Last year a remote control car was among the prizes, and hotels have been known to donate overnight stays.
“We will serve a wonderful lunch: carne asada, hot dogs, chips, soda, water, and a big pot of chili. CLM provides the meal and we feed everybody, with cake for dessert. We like to express our appreciation and take pictures of our pile of garbage.”
The entire community is invited to attend.
Organizers expect between 50 – 100 volunteers to show.
“No limit to ages,” Feuerstein reminds, “Some families come annually which is really a wonderful thing. It teaches kids to be more responsible and aware of what’s going on around them in the environment.”