Illegal Dumping Angers Rural Residents

Golden Valley resident Neal Cobb with the latest example of illegal dumping near his home--a boatload of trash.
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RENO, NV - Some rural residents put a lot of effort into cleaning up their desert hillsides, only to see others use them as a convenient dumping ground.

When that happens they get angry.

No one gets more upset than Golden Valley resident Neal Cobb.

"I'm on the verge of burnout," he says. "I've had enough of this."

Neal and a network of his neighbors keep a close watch on the hills above their homes and they take it personally when someone else uses it as a convenient dumping ground.

Last spring he and others again spent money and sweat to clean up those hills.

Sometime in recent days, the dumping started again. In this case, an old boat loaded to the gunnels with trash.

It may surprise you this isn't the first boat he's seen up here.

"I've seen boats, pipe organs, video games, lots of applicances and some really ugly stuff. Once I picked up a bag of dead kittens. You just ask yourself why."

And on occasion, he's caught the dumpers in the act.

" I'm not the biggest guy in the world," he says, "but they don't get a story. I tell them 'I've got your license plate. You pick up all this garbage now and if I don't see tail lights leaving this area, I'm calling the cops, I'm tired of dealing with you people."

He's wishing he had that conversation with whoever left the boat. The trash inside is already starting to scatter across the landscape. In a few weeks it will litter this hillside.

But some of this trash can tell a tale. The people who do this sort of thing often leave clues to their identity.

First there was the California registration number on the boat. We don't know if the boat owner is responsible, but it's a good start.

We didn't have to dig deep into the trash to find more. A piece of mail from a gas company, an attendance log for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the Stead area and a 2005 boat registration sticker.

We tracked the name and address to a home in Cold Springs. The door bell set the dogs inside barking, but no one answered the door.

The next door neighbor couldn't confirm who lives there. So, we took our evidence and the boat registration number to the people at the county health department who investigate these incidents. We'll let you know what happens.

Meanwhile Neal Cobb and his neighbors will continue to watch the hills. "I get upset when I see people dumping on this great state," the Nevada native says. "I want to see their sorry faces in court."

Dumping trash on the public lands is a crime punishable by fines of up to $5,000.