We’ve all been there. Imagine that you and the family are out on your favorite trail. Looking to enjoy a little time away from the day-to-day. Then you see it. A big pile of trash on the trail. Now comes the really tough part. Do you simply leave it and walk away or do you clean it up? The folks at Keep Our Desert Clean are working to raise awareness and clean up the desert of Arizona.
For many of us, the logistical challenges of packing out more than you took in may be enough to get you to do nothing. For others, the rationalization that you didn’t bring it out there is enough to prevent you from doing clean up. After all, I didn’t dump it. Why should I clean it up? The reality is that doing nothing makes for fewer trails for all of us. Environmental impact is one of the leading causes of trail closure to recreational usage in the U.S. For guys like Dylan Miller and Ted Horowitz, there is no question regarding what they will do.
Do Something or Say Nothing
Dylan and Ted are the president and vice president of Keep Our Desert Clean. This 501c3 nonprofit organization has cleaned up 83 tons of trash in Arizona where they are based. That total is constantly expanding and they have no intention of stopping. Their mission statement says it all. It reads, “We are Mother Nature’s warriors! Fighting to keep the land we love open and enjoyable for years to come through volunteer trash clean ups, education, and awareness.”
Their new documentary, From The Ground Up: Keeping The Desert Clean, details some of the reasons why they do what they do. The documentary is available for free on YouTube.
Just Show Up
Logistics and support are covered by Keep Our Desert Clean. This includes providing all of the clean up supplies. Gloves, bags, buckets, grabbers, magnets, rakes, shovels, safety vests, and sun block are all available to those willing to just show up. They provide water for all participants. But any drinks other than water must be provided on your own. Removal of all the trash picked up as well as location reconnaissance is covered. Also, as an added bonus the crew provides big smiles. To help get it all done Keep Our Desert Clean is sponsored by 303 and Sta-Bil. These two companies help Keep Our Desert Clean continue to make a positive impact on Arizona and the off road community as a whole.
Chip In Somewhere
If you’re not in the Arizona area this particular group may not be the one for you. However, getting involved in local trail clean ups is always an option. Tread Lightly and the Blue Ribbon Coalition are organizations that host clean up events nationwide. But at a minimum head on over to the website for Keep Our Desert Clean and take a look at the documentary. You can help by viewing and sharing the documentary. This may inspire someone else to get involved. It only takes one person making a bad decision to get a trail closed. But it takes all of us to help keep them open.