Chances are if you’ve driven down the Snoqualmie Parkway over the span of 5 years, you’ve probably spotted a man out of the corner of your eye, picking up trash alongside the busy road.
No, he isn’t doing this for high school volunteer hours. Instead, he’s doing this out of the goodness of his heart in hopes that it will preserve the community and the environment.
Though many of us have seen him, only a handful know his name due to his modest approach to his service. In fact, this week’s hero was nominated by a community member named Jules, who didn’t know his name and had only spoken to him once, when she thanked him as he picked up trash. Though Jules’ in-person interaction with him was small, the impact our hero has on her and others is great.
Finding out the identity of our ‘Living Snoqualmie Hero of the Week’ took everything short of camping out on the parkway, hoping he would make an appearance.
After doing some digging, I found out the name of our ‘Living Snoqualmie Hero of the Week’: Bryan Carlisle.
When asked about how his cleanup crusade began, Carlisle says “I started about five years back when I had noticed my small neighborhood had quite a bit of trash that was blown in from the winds mainly. [It] started off as once or twice a month, others joined for our neighborhood clean up so I was able to expand to the Parkway from Douglas to Jacobia mainly every few Mondays.”
“As a community, we can’t expect our city employees to do it all, they do a great job but they need our help to keep this area beautiful,” says Carlisle.
Carlisle estimates that “If I had to guess on an average week this summer, I have picked up three large kitchen garbage bags [of litter].”
Carlisle, when asked about why he is so committed to keeping our community clean, says “because we live in really the most unbelievably beautiful setting and to see trash around just taints it. I think of the thousands of people that visit the falls yearly and the impression they leave with after traveling through our area.”
Since Covid-19 began, Carlisle has been devoting more time to picking up trash. “This past April the hotel I work for closed and I was temporarily furloughed so I expanded to the entire parkway from 202 to Jacobia, it’s also an amazing way to get a good workout in,” said Carlisle.
Carlisle is a member of the newly-organized local trash clean-up group, Clean Snoqualmie. According to Carlisle, the group contains people [who] pick up trash in random areas in the valley and post pictures. This past weekend, a park clean up was organized and was very successful.
Bryan Carlisle’s impact on our local environment has been big. Still, it is dwarfed by the impact his actions have had on others in our community.
The woman who nominated him, Jules, said, “I have watched Bryan over the past several months out cleaning up trash along the parkway… I had the chance once to thank him for doing this, and he acted like it was no big deal but it is a big deal.”
Carlisle’s commitment to cleaning up seems to have inspired many others to do the same. Jules said Carlisle has inspired her to do her part, too.
She added, “My 21-year-old daughter and I now pick up trash when we hike the local trails.”
When made aware of the impact that his actions have had on others, Carlisle said, “I’m humbled that someone would see me and have their families do the same thing, that’s just awesome that so many people care about the environment here.”
I think Jules speaks for all of us when she commented, “To Brian I say, thank you and please know you are inspiring other locals to do our part.”
Yet it is not only Carlisle’s actions that pose as a call to action, but also his words:
“I encourage all that can to join the cause, can you imagine if each household picked up one bag a month? How clean would our valley be?”