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SITLA, Volunteers Remove Eight Tons of Trash Near Eagle Mountain

The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) organized a four-day trash cleanup from an area east of Eagle Mountain and south of Kiowa Valley subdivision, hauling away 8.37 tons of trash and 28 discarded tires.

SITLA Environmental Compliance Officer Sonja Wallace coordinated the effort and reported 50 volunteers filled eight roll-off dumpster containers. SITLA staffers joined with volunteers from the Division of Wildlife Resources Dedicated Hunter Program and Utah County Jail Work Diversion group to remove trash and repair fencing.

“Unfortunately, much of the trash we collected from these school trust lands is related to undisciplined target shooting,” stated Wallace. “Shooters bring their trash for target practice and leave behind the shattered remains.” Toxic metals from spent shells and shooting debris leach into the soil, creating environmental hazards and degrading property.

The lands targeted during the cleanup are held in trust for Utah’s public schools. When market conditions permit, SITLA intends to develop the property and deposit proceeds into a $2.37 billion permanent endowment for Utah’s public education system.

All Utah K-12 schools, including schools in Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, receive annual funding from this endowment. Alpine School District received a record $7 million from the Permanent School Fund last year.

Following the cleanup, SITLA closed the area to all use, including shooting, mountain biking, and off-highway vehicle riding. The main dirt road through trust lands, which is part of Eagle Mountain’s off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail network, remains open.

Newly-closed trailed and roads will be re-seeded and signed with “no trespassing” and “area closed” signs to remind visitors to respect school trust lands. All work should be completed before year end.