Clean Up Our Trails with These Tips

Twice a year, Snowshoe Magazine celebrates our natural lands by cleaning up our favorite outdoor spaces, and we would love for you to join us!

In September, we partake in National CleanUp Day, an initiative by Clean Trails to draw attention to finding a solution for litter. In April, we contribute to Earth Day. Since 1970, Earth Day has represented our environment and served as a reminder of the importance of caring for and supporting the place we call home.

Just like our own health, our environment needs to be taken care of to thrive. So as we head outside, we think about all the things we have to be thankful for, like sunshine to bask in, trails to hike, and trees to climb.

So, we want to encourage you to give back to our natural lands by cleaning up your local area! 

Our local areas need to be taken care of to thrive! Photo: Susan Wowk

Tips to get started

If picking up trash feels overwhelming, here are a few tips to get started.

Start small

A great trash pick-up can be in your own neighborhood! For example, take a solo walk to your local park and bring a trash bag along. Or, go for a hike in your local natural area with a few friends and pick up trash while on the trail. Any small bit helps!

Reach out for recommendations

If you’re having trouble choosing an area to clean up, reach out to your local city recreation department or natural resources department.

The staff at these local departments can be a wealth of information and offer recommendations of where a clean-up may be needed. They also can provide guidance on where to properly dispose of your trash if you find/pick up a large amount.

Check for restrictions

Make sure there aren’t any restrictions for the area you want to clean. Most local neighborhoods will probably not have restrictions, but it’s best to double-check.

However, you may encounter some city parks and natural areas that are city or county patrolled and not available for a public clean-up. For example, some areas near the river where we live are prone to hazardous materials and cleaned regularly by the city. These areas near us are off-limits for public clean-ups.

Know what to bring

On your trash clean-up outing, you’ll want to bring the following items:

  • thick gloves (such as gardening gloves) or a trash collection stick for picking up trash
  • bags to collect the garbage – you may also choose to bring two colors of bags for recyclables and trash. From personal experience, it can be a pain to sort through and find recyclables after the fact 🙂
  • water and a snack

It’s also recommended to wear long pants and closed-toed shoes to avoid any scrapes or plant interactions. Finally, always remember to protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen and sunglasses.

Be aware of what you pick up

Please be careful as you’re out trash hunting. Most items will most likely not be hazardous. However, if you encounter any large items, like tires, or hazardous items, like needles, do not remove them. Instead, contact your local city recreation department for guidance.

woman holding trash bags near natural area sign

Enjoying our trash pick-up at our local natural area in celebration of Earth Day! Photo: Paul Wowk

How can I get involved?

Find a local clean-up event near you for National CleanUp Day or Earth Day. Or, grab some friends or family and start your own event!

You can also clean up throughout the year, keep track of what you find, and inspire others with the Litterati app.

Let’s clean up!

We’re excited to clean up with you, and thank you for your support of our environment! Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

Remember, any small amount of trash pick-up makes a difference! Happy cleanup!

Please share any other suggestions or clean-up events in the comments below!

This post was originally published on April 20, 2021, and was most recently updated on September 15, 2021. 

Read Next:
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About the author

Susan Wowk

Susan has owned Snowshoe Magazine with her husband, Paul, since 2015. In 2018, she became more involved in writing and editing content and now is the lead editor of the publication. She enjoys all things winter and snowshoes regularly with Paul and 13-year-old puppy Grizzy.

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