I have written before about the need for desert communities to respect themselves and surrounding wildlands, in part by minimizing our impact on desert habitat and keeping both the desert and our cities clean. The lack of respect by some leaves an impression for all to see, but how long we tolerate the mess is ultimately up to all of us. In a single hour, my sister and I were able to fill five large bags of trash that we removed from a small patch of Joshua tree and pinyon juniper habitat in the western part of the Victor Valley. Not long after that, I heard about a couple of other organizations closer to the Yucca Valley that were committed to volunteer clean-ups of our desert. Most recently, I was inspired by Death Valley Jim's initiative to clean-up some public lands near Barstow and Yermo that have been trashed by disrespectful users.
So it is refreshing to see community leaders in the Victor Valley taking notice, and refusing to tolerate the mess left by a few. Most recently, Daily Press editor Steve Hunt kicked off a series to showcase both examples of blight, as well as evidence of folks taking pride in the community.
Here are some of my own photos to showcase some of the messes I have unfortunately come across during my travels in the desert:
|I came across this heap of illegally dumped trash and a discarded boat in the middle of what was otherwise a beautiful stretch of the western Mojave Desert between Palmdale and El Mirage, and just south of Edwards Air Force Base.|
|I got up early one morning in December 2012 to photograph sunrise in some Joshua tree woodland area in western Victorville, and had to do a lot of creative framing to keep trash out of the photos. Eventually I gave up and made trash the subject.|
|The typical beautiful desert sunrise cast striking colors on the horizon, but you have to look past the trash dump.|
The desert is a beautiful place, and those that have the privilege to live in the desert should take pride in their community and the desert wildlands that surround us.
|The morning sun hits yucca in bloom near Apple Valley and Juniper Flats.|