by Carrie Mossien
A California man who says he’s been “rock crawling” all his life intends to add a new dimension to Moab’s Easter Jeep Safari by issuing a challenge to fellow enthusiasts.
This year Jeff Knoll, chief executive officer of Advantage Plumbing in Lake Elsinore, recruited 25 people to spend a couple of hours each picking up garbage at Potato Salad Hill. Next year he hopes to organize a virtual army of volunteers by sharing his idea on web sites popular with the off–highway vehicle crowd.
“I hope that we can continue the challenge every year and try and make a positive change in the perception of four-wheelers who visit Moab,” Knoll said in an email to The Times-Independent. “Regardless of our chosen mode of travel I believe no one wants to risk losing the wonder and challenge of Moab.”
Knoll is a lifelong resident of Menifee, Calif., where he now lives on the same 12 acres he grew up on. His wife is a teacher and the couple has two children. Knoll has attended two Jeep Safaris, 2005 and 2006.
“My family and I first visited Moab in November 2004 on a trip to Kansas,” Knoll said. “We had wanted to visit Moab for 10 years and worked it into our trip. We fell in love at first sight and made plans to return for the ‘05 Safari so we could see all the vendors and Jeepers. We arrived on the Thursday of Safari and planned to stay the week after. I had heard of Potato Salad Hill and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I was disappointed when we arrived and stayed only about five minutes. In my opinion the crowd at Potato Salad Hill was not what I have known as four-wheelers. The trash they were leaving and the atmosphere was not what I wanted my kids around.”
The week after, Knoll said he read about how much garbage Sara Melnicoff picked up every morning during Jeep Safari, and about her efforts via Common Thread to bring people together to keep public lands clean. He was inspired.
“Taking two hours out our vacation to clean up after the Potato Salad Hill party is a small price to pay for the continued use of a wonderful place,” Knoll said.
In addition to recruiting help from the OHV community, Knoll said he plans to seek grants to purchase recycle bins and advertise the clean-up efforts.
Knoll said he has served as president of two Jeep clubs, and trail boss for the MDA Off-Road for Hope runs in 1999 and 2000. In 2000 he started the “California Rock Crawlers Association” or CRCA which held Rock Racing events in Southern California, from 2000 to 2003.
“I discontinued promoting events to focus on my plumbing business and spend more time enjoying off-roading,” he said.
Knoll can be contacted through his web site at www.advantageplumbinginc.com. For more information on The Solutions in Moab, or Common Thread, call Melnicoff at 259-0910.