Pitch in for Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is less than two weeks away, and this year instead of hosting an in-person event in the Middle Fork on a Saturday in September, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust has transformed the day into a week of giving back through individualized volunteering throughout the Greenway and beyond.

Give back and pick up trash on your local public lands during this week-long cleanup event.


From September 19-26, members of the public can join the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and other community partners
to “pitch in for public lands.” The week-long cleanup effort will focus on clearing litter from parks, trails, and other outdoor spaces to celebrate National Public Lands Day, which falls on September 26.

“We’re excited to celebrate National Public Lands Day by encouraging local cleanups across the Greenway and beyond,” says Jon Hoekstra, Executive Director of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. “Although we will miss gathering in person with volunteers, we hope that the cleanups will offer opportunities for even more people to get involved in their communities and to care for their local public lands.”

Trash found in the Middle Fork Valley

Throughout the week, people are encouraged to go out and pick up trash on public lands at their convenience. Due to the individualized nature of this initiative, participants have the option to stay close to home or take supplies to clean up where they are already recreating out on the trails. The Greenway Trust, together with input from our land management agency partners, has compiled a map that includes “hot spots” where a high concentration of trash has accumulated this summer, in case participants need a suggestion for where to go. Although it’s preferred that people dispose of their collected trash in their household waste stream whenever possible, there are also alternative options for responsible disposal. A downloadable Cleanup Guide is available with this information, along with other important details such as recommended supplies and how to stay safe while participating.

Participants will have the chance to win prizes throughout the week by sharing photos of their cleanup experience; tagging the Mountains to Sound Greenway on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook; and using #NPLDTrash. Members of the public are also encouraged to download the Litterati app, where they can join the Greenway’s “Love Your Lands Cleanup Campaign,” track their collections, and be eligible for a top-contributor prize. Find instructions available here.

“The large amount of trash on trails this year has been a hot topic within the hiking community,” says Lee Jacobson, founder of the Washington Hikers and Climbers Facebook Group, which has more than 154,000 members. “As outdoor lovers, we hate to see this, so we are both encouraging people to be part of the solution by picking up existing trash, and attempting to educate hikers regarding Leave No Trace principles.”

The summer of 2020 has set records for recreational usage across the entire state of Washington. While it’s been great to see so many people connecting with nature, land managers and recreationists alike are all witnessing the unfortunate impacts that come with overuse, such as an overabundance of trash.

“Over the last several months, we’ve seen a huge increase of visitors enjoying lands around the state,” said Kelly Susewind, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We’re glad to have more people enjoying the beautiful outdoors, and we’re asking people to do their part to protect our precious public lands that sustain wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities for current and future generations. I encourage hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers, hikers, and other outdoor adventurers to take part and pick up trash from your local wildlife area or water
access area.”

Join your community members by pitching in for public lands from September 19-26!

Learn more and sign up: https://mtsgreenway.org/get-involved/npld/

Comments

  1. Ironic that you quoted Jacobson. Among the greater hiking community that fakebook group is well known as being the most culpable for singling out an area (through multiple trip report postings complete with geotagging) and thereby trashing it. Good sentiment from him, albeit after the fact, but I have this image in my mind of him trying to shove toothpaste back into the tube.

    • Lee Jacobson says

      Is Washington Hikers and Climbers responsible for the trashing of campgrounds and dispersed camping sites in Washington this year? Because I don’t think they are getting geotagged on the WH&C page, and they seem to be in worse shape than the trails. It’s tempting to point fingers when things don’t go well, but the problems on the trails this year are due to more than geotagging on a Facebook page, imo.

      • From the article: ‘…cleanup effort will focus on clearing litter from parks, TRAILS, and other outdoor spaces… ‘. And 10+ of the ‘hot spots’ linked to are either trailheads or trails, the destinations of which get photographed and tagged and posted about ad infinitum among your members. Whereas the pandemic phenomenon is a factor, your group was already out there setting the precedent for irresponsible and ignorant outdoor recreating. Your recent push towards encouraging LNT practices, etc. on your fakebook page is indicative of your recognition of your contribution to the situation, but as I indicated, I think it’s too little too late. And it seems counterproductive to be denying your responsibility here. The irony is now knee deep, much like the mud on an overused trail.

        • Lee Jacobson says

          Glad you have noticed our efforts to promote Leave No Trace principles. The Washington Hikers and Climbers page will be the first place many new hikers hear of that principle. Anti geoagging advocates propose allowing pictures of places like Cochuck Lake but tagging them with more general geographic references, such as #alpinelakeswildernessarea. We have gone further than that. We don’t allow posts or photos related to dayhikes to Colchuck Lake (or a couple dozen other crowded or sensitive places) and haven’t for months. Yet these locations are still getting overrun and trashed. It doesn’t appear that Washington Hikers and Climbers is the only social media site inspiring people to get outdoors.

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