Earth Day Crag Cleanup at Ragged Mountain

By Paige Guthrie

This year, in celebration of Earth Day, the RMF Board of Directors organized a trash clean up along the property line adjacent to Andrews Street.  This RMF Earth Day Cleanup was attended by President Matt Conroy and myself, Treasurer Nate McKenzie, and Directors Chuck Boyd and Jim Shippee..  

Matt and I met on Monday morning at Starbucks in Plainville.  Being the coffee addicts that we are, we met inside the Starbucks and missed the parking lot meetup and departure.  So, thinking we were the only two people who showed up for our Earth Day clean up, we loaded up on our daily dose of caffeine and made our way to Andrews Street.

After parking, making sure not to block any driveways or trod on any lawns, we armed ourselves with trash bags, gloves and water and started the quick march to the Andrews Street Trail.  Along the way we bumped into our cohorts Jim Shippee and Chuck Boyd. Initially, our plan was to spread out along the property and trail leading to the cliffs to pick up any refuse and clear off the path.  But upon starting out, we noticed that most of the trash was along the roadside and found our efforts were most needed there. We marched on, tangling ourselves into the bushes and vines that make up the dense ground cover along the east side of Andrews Street.  I found myself climbing in and out of the tightly wound bushes and swamp-like terrain, while Matt and Jim carried on up Andrews Street toward the reservoir. Our bags were filling quickly with discarded bottles and wrappers and cans of various styles and one thing was becoming increasingly clear as we went: this trash clean up should become a regular activity.

We started making collection areas for our filled compactor bags and venturing out with 5 gallon buckets.  About an hour into our cleanup,as we ran low on bags, we made piles of trash along the side of the road to collect at the end.  Things like beer cans and soda cans, or the occasional Dunkin’ Donuts 32 ounce, were regular items. One particular variety and size of alcohol bottle was a bit too frequent for comfort.  We picked up car parts and and a shovel, which may have found a new home in Matt’s shed.

By the end of our excursion, we had collected close to 15 bags of refuse, a handful of ticks between all 5 of us, one car tire, one mailbox, and a very, very smelly Toyota Rav4.  I am happy to say that we cleaned up quite a lot along the roadside, but sad to say, there is certainly more to be done.  As a whole, the RMF Board of Directors is committed to making this an annual event for Earth Day. On a personal level, I hope for an opportunity to create an additional roadside clean up later in the year, supported by volunteers in our community.

On a parting note, please remember to bring a small bag into the woods with you, whether hiking or climbing, and do a little extra to help keep trash out of our landscapes and waterways and leave no trace!

Paige Guthrie currently serves on the RMF Board of Directors as Vice President of the Board.