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Springs cleaned: Tule gets de-gunked

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Tule Springs Fossil Bed Monument cleanup

Vince Santucci, superintendent of the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, swears in the monument’s first Junior Paleontologists, Samson and Gemma Welcher, during a volunteer cleanup April 11.

What good is a brand-new national park if it’s buried under a few decades’ worth of cement, carpet, glass and other junk? To scientists, politicians and conservationists, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, on the northern edge of Clark County, is a research and tourism gold mine. To casual onlookers, it was a dump. So, for its first official event, newly minted Park Superintendent Vince Santucci hosted an April 11 cleanup to prepare the site for its expected illustrious future. Here’s the debris, deconstructed:

60: volunteers who participated

200: hours they put in

30: length, in yards, of the dumpster they filled

9: pickup truck loads of debris removed

7: age of the youngest volunteer, Gemma Welcher

1: number of critically endangered Las Vegas bearpoppies in bloom that Welcher and her brother found

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