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Volunteers clean tribal land near state line

The Daily Times staff
From left, AmeriCorps volunteers Shaneyka Yazzie and Graham Biyaal collect trash on Friday during a volunteer service program hosted by Do Good Diné along U.S. Highway 591 north of Shiprock.

FARMINGTON — Volunteers from Do Good Diné today removed a vandalized sign that for years welcomed visitors to the Navajo Nation at the New Mexico and Colorado state line on U.S. Highway 491.

Approximately 20 volunteers, who learned about the project on the group's Facebook page, cleaned the area near the sign while employees from the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department dismantled the sign.

Yolanda Francisco-Nez, a member of the group, said in a telephone interview Thursday that the project was under development for three months while the group worked with the parks and recreation department to finalize the demolition.

Volunteers pick up trash on Friday along U.S. Highway 491, north of Shiprock.

Francisco-Nez said the parks and recreation department planned to use chainsaws, sledgehammers and metal cutting tools to remove the sign, and volunteers gathered the debris for transportation to the solid waste transfer station in Shiprock.

The sign was constructed by the tribe's tourism department approximately 20 years ago, and there are no immediate plans to replace it, Francisco-Nez said.

Also helping with the project were Staybridge Suites Albuquerque North, La Familia Restaurant, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Shiprock AmeriCorps, Northern Diné Youth Committee, Shiprock Chapter and Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President.