GRASS VALLEY, Calif. February 28, 2020 – The Nevada County Volunteer Trash Cleanup Crew will meet this Saturday, Feb. 29th at 9:00 am in the back parking lot of the hospital for a camp cleanup event. The group, created by Lucia Lowrance, will clean up remnants of a transient camp located between the hospital and Berryhill Apartments. Volunteers are welcome, bring your own gloves, trash grabbers and don’t forget water.

Earlier this month, Lowrance stood near Sierra Memorial Hospital’s Building 4, looking down at a dense thicket of manzanita off a gated road to nowhere. Pointing downhill, she explained how on her walks she would encounter debris left behind by transients moving about Grass Valley. After participating in the community cleanup event, she decided to do her part and then some.

By creating a public Facebook group and posting pictures of trash she started to clean up, she quickly attracted like-minded residents. She reached out to Grass Valley Police Department who provided industrial-strength trash bags and facilitated the use of a Public Works dumpster to dispose of collected items.

Photo YubaNet

Lowrance states, “The community clean up a few months ago inspired me to get on the bandwagon for this operation. I feel like there needs to be a consistent, ongoing effort. There was something humbling working along the Chief of Police, Sheriff, Probation as well as like-minded volunteers in the community, knee-deep in trash – all with the same vision. If we keep up the efforts, if we stay vigilant and proactive, I think it will make a difference.”

Accompanied by a Grass Valley Police officer, we made our way down the dirt track towards the abandoned camp. A maze of paths through the dense vegetation led to small clearings strewn with trash.

As we ducked and crawled through the manzanita, Lowrance was making plans for a clean up. She had already reached out to SNMH to get permission to access the camp site, which isn’t on hospital property, from the parking lot.

Photo Lucia Lowrance

After identifying the property owner with the help of GVPD, she made plans to contact them and get permission for the clean up. Getting buy-in from a property owner and permission to access a site is very important to her. “We don’t want to trespass on anyone’s property. Most the time, people don’t even know what is happening in their ‘back 40’ and working with them is very gratifying. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Accessing the trash would be much easier if some of the brush was cut, and she made that happen too – all with the property owners’ blessing.

Earlier today, Alvis LeGate with Legacy Landscaping cleared a path for the volunteers. Besides creating an easier access, this reduces the risk of fire – a big concern for Lowrance and her cohorts.

Tomorrow, volunteers are invited to come to the hospital’s parking lot near Building 4 and clean up yet another part of the neighborhood. You are invited to join them in this and future events.

For more information, check out the Nevada County Volunteer Trash Cleanup Crew Facebook group.

PS: Pizza at noon after the clean up!