Community Events

Swales cleanup removes more than 100 cubic yards of trash


Mayor Roy Edgington, Jon Nowlin and city councilwoman Fran McKay look at a map of areas where trash had been found.

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The California/Nevada chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association and a handful of partner organizations removed more than 100 cubic yards of trash and 76 tires along the historic Fernley Swales last Saturday, Sept. 22.

The cleanup was the 20th anniversary of the first Fernley Swales cleanup, which was started by OCTA member Tom Fee.

The Fernley Swales is a section of the Emigrant Trail, where about 10,000 emigrants, including the Donner Party, passed through on their way to California and Oregon during their migration west during the mid to late 1800s.


Thousands of wagons made their way through the 40-mile desert before crossing the mountains, and the remnants of those wagon trails are still visible.

BLM archaeologist Rachel Crews welcomes volunteers to the cleanup day.
Jon Nowlin of the California/Nevada chapter of the Oregon-California Trails Association talks about the history of the Fernley Swales.

The Oregon-California Trails Association has a historic preservation easement for this section of the trail, and for the past 20 years have held an annual cleanup event to remove trash, debris and vandalism.
This year, 27 volunteers and four Bureau of Land Management employees and volunteers from came out to help with the cleanup.

Long-time volunteers in attendance included Mayor Roy Edgington, who’s been helping with these cleanups for more than a decade, and Fee, who started the Fernley Swales cleanups 20 years ago.

Partner organizations for the cleanup effort included the Fernley Rotary Club, Fernley Chamber of Commerce, the City of Fernley and The Fernley Reporter.

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