LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A forgotten natural treasure, trashed.

That is how people who love Lovell Canyon once described it. Now, after decades of pushing for change, including a target shooting ban, they say there has been a transformation. They plan to continue their restoration efforts Saturday and you are invited to take part.

“Lovell is the backside of Red Rock, so the range you see there, that is Red Rock,” Brett Torino, a developer and philanthropist who is deeply passionate about the canyon, described to FOX5 at its entrance. Lovell Canyon is a hidden gem just a short drive outside the Vegas Valley.

“We really need to preserve this as much as we look at and preserve Mt. Charleston, as much as we look at Red Rock Canyon,” contended Pauline van Betten with the group Save Red Rock. In Lovell Canyon, you will find Torino Ranch. It is home to Camp Cartwheel, which every summer since 1994 is a refuge for critically or chronically ill children.

“It should be protected, and it should be fought for,” Torino asserted. Torino and van Betten have been fighting to stop lawlessness in Lovell Canyon for decades. Every road sign became a shooting target, rocks a canvas for taggers, 200 to 300-year-old juniper and pinyon trees deliberately destroyed and trash littered the landscape.

“There were mannequins people shot, TVs, refrigerators, mattresses, sofas. It was really becoming a shooter haven and when you came up here you would always hear machine guns going off and it drove all of the people that were recreating out of the canyon,” van Betten recounted. In the fall of 2019, the shooting stopped.

“We worked with Clark County and the Forest Service and we got a ban on shooting in the canyon,” van Betten explained.

In the past five years, signs have been replaced and dumpster after dumpster of trash removed by volunteers, all in an effort to help undo the damage done and let Lovell Canyon return to its natural state.

“You got to deal with it. You can’t let the bad people win because they are glad to come in and write their own rules and you can’t allow that, it is too important,” Torino argued.

Saturday’s cleanup is being held ahead of Earth Day. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you want to take part, just show up at the entrance to Lovell Canyon.

Supplies will be provided. You can also find a link to learn more here: Celebrate Earth Day – Save Red Rock Canyon.


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