Talking Trash

Talking Trash

By: Dave Hatoff Comments: 0

I always make it a point each year to go out for Vermont’s Green Up Day and do my part.  Many times, it’s around my house or out on our road, which is Nebraska Valley Road.  I walk about a ½ mile in each direction and pick up trash.  Mostly, it’s beer, hard cider or spiked ice tea cans that litter the roadsides.  Some of them are out in the open and some of them are buried beneath leaves, sticks or are encased in the mud. 

For this year I joined Mansfield Backcountry Alliance in Green Up Days initiative to make our trailheads a better and cleaner place to be. And what I found was quite disturbing.  Before I get in to what I found, lets talk about the typical user that comes to the 3 various trail heads in Nebraska Valley in the winter time.  They are mostly backcountry skiers, a few snowshoers and some dog walkers.  What all of these folks have in common is they are lovers of nature, and in particular, being out in the woods on a typical winter day when fresh snow has fallen from the sky, covering up all of the ground’s imperfections, and painting a virgin canvas of white across the landscape. 

All of these users love getting out in the woods, whether it be going deep into the backcountry or just staying within a short grasp of the trailhead entrance.  They do this to escape the many pressures of real life and connect with nature.  The fresh air, the soft snow, the smells of pine and beauty of being in perfectly spaced hardwoods.

And at the end of the day, or the end of their own adventures, they all head back to their cars, trucks and SUV’s which are parked at the very trailhead that gives them access to natures form of a playground.  And what do many of these people do to cap off their day?  They pop a celebratory beer or other kind of adult beverage for a tailgate celebration.  Certainly nothing wrong with that.  I know for me personally after a great day of backcountry skiing, I often like to celebrate with a beer in hand and talk about the turns, the face shots, or that rock drop with my fellow skiers that shared the journey along with me.

But for me and my immediate friends when are done celebrating the day, we do what’s right and hang onto our cans, place them in our vehicles and dispose of them in our recycling bins at home.  What others choose to do is litter, plain and simple. The cardinal rule of sin anywhere, where if you get caught littering by the police you will be subjected to a hefty fine.  And worse, it makes our surroundings look like an inner city or suburb with trash littered everywhere

Now back to what I found, endless amounts of beer, hard cider and spiked ice tea cans.  Either empties crushed on the ground, half full, or even full and unopened.  Doggy bags with poop as well.  A few tampons and their wrappers, even a rubber or two.   How can these so called “outdoor enthusiasts” be so irresponsible?  It just blows my mind. They are here for the same reason most of us go there, to be surrounded by beauty and be in the essence of nature. These are the kind of people of whom I would least expect too littler.   But these outdoor enthusiasts are just another breed.  Forgetting about the difference between right and wrong and certainly not packing in what they take out. 

If we can’t count on the outdoorsy people not to litter than can we really expect the tourists, outside visitors or regular Jack and Jill's to abide by the littering rules too?  Probably not. Littering is a stain on our landscape and takes the beauty out of our natural surroundings.  

So, I ask this this one request to all of you.  Be a steward to the land.  Certainly, don’t litter and if you see litter on the ground, pick it up and help make this beautiful place that we call home still beautiful. 

In helping with this sentiment and request, Mountain Ops is going to do our part as well.  First and foremost, we are partnering with unique companies who show a green initiative in building their products in an environmentally friendly or green way.  Leaving a smaller environmental imprint or impact on our society in general.  Companies like Scarpa, Mountain Flow Eco Wax, Windr Alpine, Gregory, Jet Boil, and Faction are just a few prominent companies that we endorse, carry and sell to echo this statement.  

In conjunction with these vendors, we are putting together a summer long special event that we think will make a difference here locally regarding trash and littering.

From July 1st though September 1st, we are having a contest to see who can pick up the most trash while you are on your bike or on foot.  At the end of your collecting, you must weight your trash and send the weight into us using the honor system.  You can take a picture of the trash that you have collected over that period of time and e mail us that along with the total weight of your gatherings to: [email protected].  Or, bring in your trash in a bag and we will weigh it for you right here at the shop.  Whoever brings in the most weight will win a prize from one of these companies that we listed above.  It’s a great way to giveback to your community, make a difference for our local environment and win some great prizes along the way.     

We are working with these companies to help make a difference in our little corner of the world that we call Stowe.   Advocacy, mindfulness and responsibility.  Practice, preach and live by these words to help make the place that you we home more sustainable for today and for future generations.

We look forward to seeing how much trash you can pick up and take in.  Remember, another person’s trash can be someone else’s treasure.    

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