Truckee Meadows Cleaner Than 2007

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What a difference a year makes.

Twelve months after getting the lowest mark possible for litter, Golden Valley ranks at the top of the list for cleanliness in the Truckee Meadows.

Golden valley residents grew tired of seeing their backyard turned into a makeshift dump.

Now, thanks to their efforts, people are thinking twice before dumping illegally in the area.

"You have people like myself that are not law," says Neal Cobb, a Golden Valley resident. "But we're the eyes and ears and we're watching what's going on; and by golly, I can tell an illegal dumper from here to North Valley High School."

Neal Cobb has been issuing warnings like this to illegal dumpers for years, but now it looks like they're finally starting to listen. Less than two years ago; tires, cars, and other trash littered the area from high up in the hills all the way down to the residential neighborhoods. The heap of trash isn't completely gone yet, but it is harder to find.

"What this means is now you have to go further up the hills to find stuff like that," says Christi Cakiroglu with Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, a nonprofit that sponsored the study. "It's not good that you have to go further, but it's better that it's not up against the neighborhoods, so we're making progress."

The transformation is enough to warrant a complete 180 in this year's litter index results. Last year's rating of four, meaning an area is extremely littered is down to one, meaning virtually no litter can be observed.

Cobb credits law enforcement and other sting operations with cracking down on the problem. And even though there's still work to be done; the area he and others have grown to love is slowly returning to its true form.

"Right now, you can go up there you can ride your horses, mountain bike, take a hike, it's beautiful. This is a great state. Go out and enjoy it, but it takes everyone to really pitch in."

As a whole, the Truckee Meadows earned a litter index score of one point four, which down from one point nine.