MT. HOOD PUBLIC LANDS CLEAN-UP
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13TH, 1999
10 A.M. -- 3 P.M.
MEETING SITE: FIRESIDE ROOM AT MT. HOOD VILL.AGE
65000 East U.S. HIGHWAY 26, BRIGHTWOOD, Oregon
during the month of November before the snow buries Mount Hood's natural
landscapes, this is an event where people can give the 11,235-foot peak a
special Thanksgiving gift by cleaning up illegal trash dumps. The clean-up sites
are located along the Oregon Trail, adjacent to Salmon streams, near Beaver
Dams, in big-game Winter range and other wildlife habits, as well as in other
places. The participants are rewarded with seemingly unlimited cookies and
pastries, and even receive a "Certificate of Appreciation". Special
music is provided at the awards assembly held after the clean-up. Great for both
individuals and families!
Mount Hood, a special Mountain that Native Americans called "Wy'East",
has long stood as the symbol of Oregon. However, this beautiful 11,235-foot
snow-clad peak unfortunately has become the free garbage dump to enough people
that eight years ago the Cascade Geographic Society began an annual Autumn
clean-up. With the assistance of unselfish, hardworking volunteers, often times
braving the rain and cold weather, major dump sites on public lands have been
transitioned from disgusting trash heaps to something a lot more pleasant to the
eye and the environment.
now each year when Autumn emerges between the Summer and the Winter seasons,
with it comes a tradition that allows people of all ages and walks of life to
give Mount Hood a special Thanksgiving gift...in the form of an annual clean-up.
Anyone can participate in the upcoming Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up, which
is scheduled for Saturday, November 13th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hood's illegal dump‚sites have changed over the years", explained Michael
P. Jones, one of the organizers of the annual Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up.
When we began the first of our major clean-ups eight years ago, the majority of
Mount Hood's illegal trash dumps on the west side of the Mountain could be
attributed to a handful of local residents who tossed their household garbage,
yard debris, and even construction waste in natural areas or even just along the
roadways. But, last year our analysis of the garbage has revealed that today the
trash is also coming in from people who live in such areas as far away as Sandy,
Gresham, Troutdale, Portland, Beaverton, Oregon City, and Hood River, and even
illegal dumpers -- who are either individuals or entire families -- are very
selfish in their actions and have no concern for the environment of Mount Hood,
its fish or wildlife, its history, or even the economic development associated
with tourism and recreation. The only thing that they care about is to save a
few dollars on their trash bill by illegally dumping their garbage wherever it's
convenient to them."
to Jones, a good portion of the illegally dumped material could have been
recycled. He stressed that on-going education on recycling is needed not only
just for those who come up to Mount Hood and utilize it, but also for those
individuals who are fortunate enough to live on the Mountain.
come from all over to assist in the Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up. They will
be picking up trash and identifying hazardous waste sites located on publicly
owned lands in the beautiful Mount Hood Corridor. It is essential that clean-ups
be conducted regularly in this important corridor of cultural and natural
history, in order to try to keep up with the heavy amount of illegal dumping
that occurs year-round from both local residents and the hundreds of thousands
of visitors to the Mount Hood area.
of the most important reasons for conducting the Mount Hood Public Lands Clean
Up during the rainy and cold late Autumn season is its benefit for Wintering
wildlife. Big game, such as deer and elk, are forced down into the lower
elevation areas during the bad periods of Winter, and need a clean environment
instead of one that is covered with human debris that has been illegally dumped.
trash is hazardous to wildlife," stressed Jones. "it doesn't take a
rocket scientist to figure this out. Pollution of any sort does nothing but
harm. And, since this is Winter when natural habitat becomes the most critical,
this is the ideal time to clean up the living rooms and bedrooms for
areas are so bad that they actually need to be gated, which would still allow
the public access by foot, but not with motor vehicles. Not having easy access
with a car or truck, tends to reduce a lot of the illegal dumping at certain
sites, or even eliminates it altogether.
one of the worst illegal dumping areas was East Miller Road, which is located
just off of East U.S. Highway 26 near the Village of Brightwood. Abandoned cars,
appliances, furniture, old tires, heaps of glass bottles and jars, tin cans and
plastic containers, old tires, rusted metal, and dump truck loads of home trash,
and a lot of other garbage dominated the once pristine landscape.
Miller Road area was probably the worst of all of the dump sites," said
Jones. "Besides trash dumping, there was poaching of deer and salmon taking
place, tearing up roads by four-wheelers, trail bikes and ATM'S. Target shooters
were leaving more debris behind than the illegal garbage dumpers. There was just
no other alternative than to try and save the public's resources in this area by
gating it off to motor vehicles. Trails and roads were getting so adversely
impacted by four-wheelers, trail bikes, and ATM's that they couldn't even
continue traveling over them, so they started creating new ones through the
wood," explained Jones. "They even took a pond and wetland area and
made a race track out of it every time it dried up in the late summer during the
drought periods. Closing down access to motorized vehicles was the only logical
alternative. Today, this area is recovering and is coming back as one of Mount
Hood's most important big-game Winter ranges and natural areas."
years of effort by the participants in the Cascade Geographic Society's Mt. Hood
Public Lands Clean-Up had focused on the Miller Road area adjacent to the Salmon
River, a federally designated Wild and Scenic River. And, in regard to illegal
trash dumping, these efforts are beginning to make a difference. However, in all
other areas we are, unfortunately, still losing to these resource abusers.
being gated five years ago, things dramatically changed for the better on East
Miller Road. Garbage that had long distressed this natural area was hauled out
by volunteers during the clean-ups, and, thankfully, no longer reappeared.
happened on East Miller Road was typical, but gating is always the last resort.
Anglers and other recreationists utilizing the Salmon River still had access,
but it was less convenient. No longer could they drive their motor vehicles down
to the river, but now they had to hike in. Not surprisingly, this successfully
reduced the trash left behind by about 99 per cent.
not all problem areas can be gated, which is expensive as well as difficult to
build something that can withstand vandalism. So, the "key" for
success in battling garbage dumpers is volunteers. These dedicated individuals
only help in keeping these sites clean, but they also assist in educating
trying to insure that they do not become like those who seem to have no regard
for Mount Hood and its precious resources and leave their garbage behind.
much as possible, the trash will be recycled. During last year's Mount Hood
Public Lands Clean-Up, the Cascade Geographic Society and its volunteers
recycled scrap metal, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and lumber, as well as car
batteries and old tires. And, if it's at all possible, we will also be securing
illegal dump sites in an attempt to prevent further illegal dumping in the
Cascade Geographic Society's Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up involves many
different interest groups besides citizens. The participants include individuals
and families, students from the Portland Metropolitan area schools, Mount Hood
Salmon Trout Enhancement Program, the Mount Hood Chapter of The Wildlife Fund,
Sandy River Basin Heritage Association, Mount Hood Independent Steelheaders,
Metro, Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, and
several other groups and individual businesses. All members of the public are
invited to join together in this very important event on November 13th.
again, students from Sabin Elementary School will be on hand to participate in
the Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up. Organized by fourth-fifth grade teacher
Nita Kreuzer, these K-5th grade representatives from Sabin have loyally
demonstrated that they really do love Mount Hood and have always contributed
their part in giving this beautiful Oregon Mountain this special Thanksgiving
will be the eighth year that the students from Sabin Elementary School will have
participated, which says a lot about this inner-city school, which also includes
former students who are now in middle school and high school, as well as their
families," said Jones. "In my opinion they represent some great
examples of dedication and respect that people should follow. If everyone loved
this symbol of Oregon that we know today as Mount Hood as much as the students
from Sabin, then this Mountain wouldn't have the problem that it has today, such
as illegal garbage dumping.
Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up also serves as an education to the
participants. Many are shocked to see that sections of the Oregon Trail are
being trashed, as well as wetlands, Salmon habitat, riparian areas along
streams, meadows, beaver dams, around ponds and lakes, and at historic sites.
learn that no place is safe from illegal trash dumpers whether it's the Oregon
Trail or the Sandy or Salmon Rivers," said Jones. "They are shocked
but at least they are trying to do something about it. They are not just sitting
around crying about the bad things that a few selfish people are doing- they are
actually putting their frustration into action."
wishing to assist in the November 14th clean-up should get in touch with the
Cascade Geographic Society, including those who do not particularly want to go
out and gather trash from the natural landscape. Of particular interest is
someone who can letter the certificates that will be given for the Mount Hood
Public Lands Clean-Up while the clean-up activities are underway.
addition to needing volunteers for the Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up, also
needed are pickup trucks for hauling trash. These can either be two-wheel or
four-wheel, since most of the roads leading to the clean-up sites will be paved.
individuals and groups interested in participating in the Mount Hood Public
Lands Clean-Up should meet at Mt. Hood Village in the Fireside Room, located
at 64000 E. Highway 26 in Brightwood, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 13th.
People are encouraged to bring a pair of work gloves to handle trash, rain gear
if needed, and suitable footwear to keep their feet dry. In addition, they
should bring a sack lunch. They will undergo a short introductory session on
what they should or should not pick up during the clean-up. The registration for
all volunteers will take place at 10 a.m. at Mt. Hood Village. Free pastries and
hot drinks will be provided to participants.
the actual clean-up begins, volunteers will head out to a dump site with a group
leader and a pickup truck. Trash will be hauled to a strategically located
dumpster so that all clean-up groups participating in the Mount Hood Public
Lands Clean-Up will have easy access.
the conclusion of the clean-up, all participants in the Mount Hood Public Lands
Clean-Up will eat their lunch back at Mt. Hood Village. Here, once more, they
will be treated to some more goodies and hot drinks, besides receiving a
certificate of appreciation.
information and special handouts will be available throughout the clean-up day
for all participants. In addition, special teacher packets and curriculums on
recycling prepared by the Office of External Affairs for the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency can be obtained anytime prior to or after the Mount Hood
Public Lands Clean-Up from the Cascade Geographic Society.
Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up is a time to give a special Thanksgiving gift
for Mount Hood, which has given us so much," stressed Jones. "It gives
us incredible natural resources, scenic beauty, recreational opportunities,
history galore, and many sacred and special places that cannot be found anywhere
else in the world. The donation of a few hours can help make a difference.
Anyone, no matter what their age, occupation, or environmental belief, can
further information on the Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up, please contact
Michael P. Jones of the Cascade Geographic Society
at (503) 622-4798, Fliers and posters are available for any individual or group
who wants them.