Tire Cleanup More Than Halfway Complete

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Friends volunteers are past the halfway point in their massive undertaking to remove an unsightly pile of tires and other debris along the Canyon Ridge Trail.
Bert Slade (L) and Jaime Dickerson stand next to a trailer loaded with tires ready to be hauled away. Photo courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.

Since 2020, Friends volunteers Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson have made it their mission to do their part to keep the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge pristine. After decades of dumping, a huge pile of old tires and other trash had accumulated along the Canyon Ridge Trail at the Nature Center. Bert and Jaime love to hike the trails at the Nature Center and noticed the eyesore during one of their many outings.

These two images, one before (top) and one after, taken from about the same spot, show the depth of the original pile. Photo courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.

What began as a modest effort to pick up small amounts of trash to carry out as they hiked has morphed into a multi-year project to remove all the tires and other trash from the trail and help return it to its original condition. Several times a year, Bert and Jaime — sometimes with friends — painstakingly remove the tires from the hillside, stack them in a staging area, and then load them onto a trailer to be hauled away by Nature Center staff for eventual disposal. After the project was initiated in December 2020, the first trailer load of tires made its way out of the area on February 25, 2021.

Tires are staged by the road across several days prior to loading the trailer. Photo courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.

In March 2023, Bert and Jaime, joined by Neal “The Bruce” Heidel and Kyle Clabaugh, made their way to the area once again and removed another 303 tires. Nature Center staff member Haley Parrish drove the truck/trailer and pitched in to help load tires, a major contribution above and beyond her regular job at the Nature Center.

In this short clip, Nature Center staff member Haley Parrish hauls away the first load of the day, with truck tires arranged in the front of the trailer. Video courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.

“We have managed to photograph every single trailer load since that first tire — LOTS of photos! — and have created several videos to document our progress,” says Bert. “You will remember that on one of our previous trips, we removed an abandoned fiberglass boat from the hillside. We now use it as a picnic bench, with plans to pull it out to the road when we get to the end. At the moment, it is no longer visible from the trail.”

The largest and smallest tires to date, which were found within a few weeks of each other. Photo courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.

As of June 2023,  2,653 tires have been removed. Bert and Jaime estimate they have about 1,000 to 1,500 remaining. In addition to the tires, they are also sorting out glass, plastic, metal (approximately 1,000 pounds worth), and trash as they dig through the mess. They are removing all of it.

“We estimate it will take at least another year to complete,” Bert predicts.

A summary of the day’s record. Photo courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.
The current view of the massive tire mountain, or, as Jaime calls it, the “glacier.” This view shows about 1/3 of the challenge remaining. The two friends are now working from left to right of the pile, anticipating another 1,000 to 1,500 tires to go. Photo courtesy of Bert Slade and Jaime Dickerson.

Read more about this ongoing project here, here, and here.

By Friends Staff

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