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Desert Campsite Cleanup Ideas: Ass Magnet Needed

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I recently camped in our ancestral desert campsite in Dove Springs (Mojave). Sadly, decades of misuse have left it littered with trash: old burn piles, nails, tire wire, beer caps, spent brass shell casings, broken glass, etc.

 

We always make a concerted effort to clean up our campsites. We used a rolling magnetic sweeper and would sometimes drag a bow rake in front of it to lift up the shallow stuff. It worked quite well to pick up the nails, tire wire, etc. but I need a recommendation on how to pick up non-ferrous trash out of the sand. The biggest problems are brass and glass, hence the need for an "-ass magnet." 

 

Other than shoveling and sifting the sand through a screen, any faster/smarter ideas for how to clean all this crap up? Maybe even something we could drag behind the ATC70... 

 

All ideas welcome. Thanks. 

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Unfortunately, a rake and shovel are the best I've come up with yet for the things my magnet won't pick up. Interested to hear what others come up with.

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It's sad the trash you find out there. I remember a BLM cruised by and ee talked about the crap. He said alot of trash is either from guys out shooting to locals dumping their trash.

One time we found a part of a chain link fence. We tied it the rear of a Jeep and dragged the area. It picked up alot of the trash except for the tiny objects.

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its a problem everywhere, we address it every campout, 5 gallon buckets for sharp glass and nails, burn everything that will, weve hauled out burned ezup frames, bike frames, car and tv parts, nothing suprises me anymore, seems like cigarette smoking shooters leave the most crap, aside from illegal dumpers.

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Yeah it's pretty frustrating when we return to the same spot we left pristine a couple months prior and there are cans, burned nails and glass all over the place. But I'm actually willing to take up some of slack from the jackasses - I just need to figure out a feasible way to do so. Especially when it comes to picking the glass out of the sand.... 

 

We brought a homemade 18" x 24" sifting box with some 1/4" metal screen, but it still involved shoveling, shaking, etc. I like this video where the guy hung the tray from bungees and hooked up a reciprocating saw to shake it.  

 

My buddy thought we could mount an off-balance electric motor or orbital sander to do the shaking...but then we need a generator or a cordless sander. Best idea so far, also from the same guy: build a sifting trailer for the ATC70 with the two wheels mounted off-center to do the bouncing/shaking... Then you have a second person just walk around next to it, shoveling sand in. But I'd also prefer not to do any shoveling in the first place, so hopefully we can get some more ideas here... 

 

Here's one with no shoveling, sort of. Or here's a shovel that also does the sifting. 

 

Maybe there's some sort of mining equipment that would make quick work of this?.... Something like a homemade version of this beach sifter. Or a filter rig attached to a shop vac attached to a generator... or?... [or maybe I should just shovel the sand onto a sifting box].

 

Terms I've found relevant: soil/dirt/sand sifter, topsoil sifter, soil screener, stall sifter, trommel, manure fork. 

Edited by Soodo

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This stuff drives me nuts. I've spent most of my free time in the woods since my parents would let me outside by myself. I never was able to understand how people could just leave shit in the woods, nevermind all the illegal dumping, wtf. Then I got a job that required me to go into many peoples houses. After my first 2 months on the job, I finally understood. You think the messes people leave in the woods or dessert are bad, you should see their houses. I still don't know how people live in filth like that, so many people too... and THEY made the appointment which was normally scheduled a week prior..they knew people would be going through their pig sty house! The outside of the house might be tidy and they may present themselves pretty well but damn, so many people live in trash and filth. Its actually pretty sad. I'm not sure if its laziness or what. Mental illness certainly was a factor in some cases but you would never know by looking at or talking to most of these people that they were filthy pigs. 

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Some other ideas I've stumbled onto:

 

Barber SandMan walk-behind beach/bunker cleaner (haven't found somewhere to rent one yet)

Sand rake

Clam rake

Manure fork / basket rake

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Haven't been to Mojave since I was a kid, it's been at least 8 years or more, sad to hear that people are trashing the place. If I see anything along the lines of what your looking for I'll definitely put it up here.

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I'm fed up with the trashers also. I've been picking up other peoples trash everywhere I go.  I carry a few big trash bags in my rig just for trash that I pick up. 

There are so few people in my county where I live now that there isn't all that much trash at the places where I go these days.

What really pisses me off is when I go to some historical site with pictographs or petroglyphs and some freaking worm brain has spray painted or defaced the site. Many of these sites are sacred to native people and they get trashed occasionally.

If you run across a spot where someone has dumped their trash, poke about looking for envelopes and anything that looks like mail,

You may be able to get their info to the authorities and get them what they deserve. :bonk:

 

 

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I don't have any helpful suggestions, but thank you for doing what you're doing.  I grew up riding Jawbone / Dove Springs.

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Good to hear I’m not alone in wanting to keep things clean out there. This reply turned into a slightly off-topic rant, but I figure it's related enough to warrant posting:


 


The vast majority of people who camp out in the desert do so responsibly. Unfortunately, it only takes a few knuckleheads to ruin the experience for the others or, even worse, get these places closed forever. Some potential solutions, with the last one my preferred option: 


 


1. Let the situation devolve naturally into a shitshow extravaganza of freedom, decadence and destruction for those that can afford the gasoline and have the tires to burn. 


 


2. Regulate it heavily, patrol it thoroughly and punish the offenders aggressively.


 


3. Keep the wild wild and the LEOs busy with better things. Let the good guys take up some of the slack and clean up after the idiots.


 


I’ll go with the latter since the first two either won’t work or will fundamentally change the nature of the experience out there. 


The experience is important. Our wild areas provide value, equally, as: flora/fauna habitat, natural resource conservation, scenic beauty, and recreational escape from civilization. I think the last item is deeply undervalued. We need a place to escape to. A place to be alone, be together, go fast, take it slow, take it in, explore, breathe deeply away from the cultural immediacy of the cities and the HOA rules of the suburbs. People need somewhere to go where they can race around freely, set (wood-only) fires and watch it burn. We need a place where the madness can play, if only briefly. 


 


And I’m willing to pay a price for it: I’ll bring the equipment and spend the time to clean up after the idiots. I’ll curse as I do it and I’ll try to encourage a cultural shift in the OHV community, but I’d rather spend some time raking than start seeing LEOs in my camp, doing a good job for a good reason but imposing on my much-needed escape. 


 


I’m an environmentalist that believes the public needs recreational access to our wild places. Public lands often seem more available to private exploitation that public recreation. The more access we provide to the public (including, importantly, motorized access), the more we can engender a sense of pride/value among the public for these places. I believe that the more access we provide, the more effectively these spaces can be protected.


 


As a kid, I was introduced to these wild areas via dirtbikes and desert camping. Only through these experiences did I come to place a high value on the protection of these lands. Had I never had motorized access to these spaces, I never would have seen enough of the landscape to understand/value its enormity, beauty and importance. Perhaps it would be environmentally superior if more people could take a week to backpack in, pack everything out, take only photos and leave only footprints. But this is a crowded planet and we need to be more inclusive than that.  


 


Long story short, I’d rather do some extra work than surrender my much-needed liberties in these extraordinary spaces. Let’s keep 'em clean, keep 'em wild and keep 'em open. 


 


So.... Any more ideas on how to clean glass out of the sand?


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Search "beach cleaning" on Youtube. You will see some machines that are designed for the task. I guess there will be smaller versions that could be pulled behind a quad, or you may get an idea of cobbling together a machine that would work.

Maybe you could hire one, or even get some funds / grant aid / sponsorship towards the cost.

Sieving the sand is really the only way to get glass and non-metallic debris out, so some kind of plough blade that lifts the sand into a riddle box with10mm mesh will catch nearly all the nasty stuff that could cause serious injuries if stood on. 

 

We also get the same littering and mess problems over here in Scotland. I've spent years clearing up the woods and paths around where I live.  We can't actually use the woods for motorcycles unless it is for a properly sanctioned event. Our right to roam is limited to walking, cycling, and horses. Really envious of the access and freedoms you have in parts of the US. But I also gather from various threads that this is becoming restricted by the powers that be...

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