The Mystery Riverkeeper: Guest Post

We have a guest blogger today from one of our projects up north. Lori Leonard, restoration tech for the Truckee River Project outside of Reno has a story to share about a mystery riverkeeper who's cleaning up—and spreading hope!

By Lori Leonard on September 26, 2017

Has anybody been in need of a little proof humanity is not going to heck?

I certainly have been. Fortunately, I nearly tripped over it last week, while scouting for thistles at the McCarran Ranch Preserve.

The last time I'd walked this densely-vegetated area was after the record-breaking flood water had receded in May, where an overwhelming number of plastic bottles, flip flops, and many other treasures had been newly deposited amongst the flood debris.

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 10

While the trees and soil responded beautifully to the high-water levels, this garbage deposition was a common sight along several sections of the lower Truckee River.

I was thinking about my Spring Plastic Bottle Blues when I realized, “this area looks...really good.” And then I saw it...

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 1

...A beautifully sorted and organized collection of garbage, in the middle of the woods, away from the trails, and away from any roads. The Anonymous Riverkeeper displayed an artistic row of clear glass liquor bottles, followed by an orderly row of brown glass bottles.

Then there were balls. Volleyballs, tennis balls, baseballs, red balls, plastic balls…you get the idea.

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 3

If you've lost a flip flop in the river, it may have been found.

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 2

While there was an impressive variety of goods, the towering pile of plastic bottles was the big winner.

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 4

Wanting to capture this masterpiece with our fancy work camera, I left everything as I’d found it.

When I returned the next week with fancy camera in hand, the ENTIRE collection (and by entire, I mean a HEAPING truck load of materials) had been moved next to our access road for easy pick up, with a few messages left by the Anonymous Riverkeeper. Signs read: "Lose your toys at the McCarran Ranch," "Find your balls by the Mustang Ranch," and "Lose your shoes in the Truckee River."

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 5

This random act of goodwill brings tears to my eyes almost every time I think about it, but it also has expanded to other acts of goodwill.

Three fabulous volunteers from Patagonia helped me load up all the collectables.

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 7Mystery volunteer Truckee River 8

Then, this morning as I ran up to the Waste Management truck driver to explain we didn’t expect him to take the garbage outside the bin, he said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it for you!”

Mystery volunteer Truckee River 11

So, I just had to share, people ARE good. Pass it on!

Inspired? Give back to nature now >


Or sign up to be a volunteer in Nevada >




Categories: Mystery, McCarran Ranch Preserve, Truckee River, Do good

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