Saturday, September 23 was National Public Lands day, a day many know for the free entry to National Parks. In many places around the country and within Henrys Fork watershed, however, it was also a day of service and appreciation for our national lands. Volunteers with HFWA joined in the celebration by participating in a trash clean-up along the Mesa Falls byway. This project was suggested and organized by Scott Marrett, a local resident who had observed the buildup of trash along that beautify, scenic stretch. He reported that he had wanted to organize a road clean-up there for years. HFWA was excited to help.
Volunteers came from as far as Rexburg to assist in the project. Idaho Department of Transportation and Fremont County Roads and Bridges provided the equipment. The Grub Shack’s Sterling and Susanna Nielsen provided lunch for the volunteers.
Volunteers collected hundreds of pounds of trash along a 10 mile stretch. Debris from vehicles and traffic accidents were expected. Most disheartening was the number of beverage bottles and cans.
Marrett said on Facebook after the event, “Apparently PBR & Coors cans must come with instructions “throw out your truck window,” we found hundreds & hundreds, please do better people.” It was a humbling reminder of the impact that many small and careless behaviors can have on public lands. Happily, Saturday’s project also shows there are many people who care and can make a large difference in caring for our wild lands.