DOUGLAS — A year after a group of people completed what they called the “Desert is Crying” cleanup project, illegal dumping has returned despite “No Dumping” signs being posted in the area.

In April 2019, Bob Barnes, who lives in the area, along with some of his neighbors, got together with the City of Douglas and a few other groups and organized what would amount to a three-day clean-up effort in a four-square mile area known as “no man’s land” which is located inside the Coronado Lake Estates, north of Douglas beyond Golf Course Road.

When the project was finished, 12 huge dump-truck loads of debris that included trash, tires, an abandoned car and an estimated 120 tons of concrete were hauled off to the Cochise County Transfer Station.

Barnes stated there was enough garbage to have buried Raul Castro Park. When the project was finished, the desert had been restored to its natural beauty, he said.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels established a partnership with residents in the area hoping to prevent further damage to the environment. Signs stating this was a “‘No Dumping” area were posted establishing Coronado Lakes Estates as an enhanced enforcement zone. Those who choose to illegally dump will be cited, the signs state.

Barnes is sad to report the illegal dumping has resumed and he is asking for help from the community to help get the word out this is a no dumping area. He said one illegal dumper was caught recently and was cited.

“It takes a village,” Barnes said. “Social responsibility is the key to a healthy community including Cochise County and the City of Douglas. Sheriff Dannels and his staff have directed their focus to the follow-up and support of our ‘The Dessert is Crying Project.’”

Barnes and his cleanup group recently celebrated when they received a $1,000 donation to pay Raul and Sons Backhoe Service for the work they performed over a year ago.

“This donation was caused by the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department,” Barnes said. “Thank you Sheriff Dannels and Lt. Rich Morales.”

Barnes stated he and his neighbors are constantly keeping an eye out for anyone who may be illegally dumping in that area.

“We are asking the City of Douglas to provide continued support by providing equipment one day each year, and Cochise County Supervisor Ann English to provide her continued support to maintain the area from continued illegal dumping,” he said.

“Our message to the community of Douglas: Please stop this abuse! Use the Cochise County Transfer Station to dispose of your trash, furniture, tires and yard debris. We’re trying to keep that area of ours clean so we can all enjoy its natural beauty.”

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