BOUNTIFUL — Local hikers said they have seen a lot more people heading outdoors due to the coronavirus, but not all of them have been following the rules, leaving behind lots of trash and animal waste.
Hiking has always been Jake Poulson’s way to get away from it all. He said lately he’s noticed a lot more people out hiking too.
“My family and I, we’ve been hiking every day,” he said. “I would encourage people to get out.”
He likes seeing people enjoying the outdoors, but what he doesn’t like seeing is what some are leaving behind.
“A lot of waste. Soda cans, pop cans, clothing. And dog waste. Dog waste is the big one,” said Poulson, who lives in Bountiful.
Pouslon said many trails have been getting trashed ever since the Governor issued an order to stay home.
“There is definitely a lot more garbage on the trails,” he said.
Phill Monson said he has noticed more trash too. He would know because he and friends have been cleaning trail garbage for years.
“Last year, if I gave it a good estimate, it’s about 2,500 pounds,” said Monson while cleaning garbage off a trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon Wednesday.
Monson said he has seen a lot more food wrappers, plastic bottles, and baby diapers.
“Dirty diapers. The whole gamut,” he said.
With lots of people looking for something to do, have you noticed more garbage on trails lately? We’ve been hearing that from a lot of hikers. So, we checked it out and spoke to some of them. We even found a guy who takes it upon himself to clean trails. @KSL5TV at 6. #ksltvpic.twitter.com/5Sqre9Qw2N— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) April 1, 2020
Monson regularly hikes with a garbage grabber pole and a garbage bag. If he sees trash, he picks it up.
“When I go out into these places, I want to see them clean,” he said. “I want to make sure that they’re taken care of, and I can give back to them as much as they’ve given to me.”
Monson even wrote a children’s book featuring a superhero whose villain is trail garbage. He said he hopes it will teach kids stewardship.
“Even picking up one piece of garbage leaves an impact,” said Monson.
Poulson loved that idea and posted on Facebook to organize a community cleanup of the trails near his Bountiful home, especially since some cities have closed bathrooms and removed garbage cans from trailheads.
Poulson said it’s up to us to keep the trails as clean as possible.
“If you’re out hiking, please bring a garbage bag,” he said. “Don’t expect somebody else to clean up after you.”