Bench cleanup event removes over a ton of garbage

Posted 9/16/21

It was a windy day out on the bench as a couple dozen volunteers showed up to help pick up garbage dumped on the Polecat Bench. 

The second annual event, hosted by the Powell Economic …

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Bench cleanup event removes over a ton of garbage

Posted

It was a windy day out on the bench as a couple dozen volunteers showed up to help pick up garbage dumped on the Polecat Bench. 

The second annual event, hosted by the Powell Economic Partnership (PEP), aims to clean up the public land north of Powell to make outdoor recreation appealing to local residents. The Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management partners in the effort. 

“Used wisely, these lands help contribute greatly to our economy and the health and mental wellbeing of our residents and visitors,” said Rebekah Burns, PEP executive director. 

This year, 29 people came out to help pick up trash, and they hauled 2,140 pounds, for a total of 74 pounds per person. (Last year’s event pulled in 3,520 pounds of garbage with 44 volunteers, for 80 pounds per person.)

Much of the haul was the usual metal junk items that are dumped on the bench and used for target practice. The objects, such as an outdoor barbecue grill and water heater, were filled with bullet holes. Shells, broken bottles, and shattered clay skeets were scattered for miles up a dirt road. 

Among those who came out were VISTA volunteers, which is a grant-funded economic and community development program through AmeriCorps. The volunteers come from all over the country to work on community projects in and around Powell. 

Of the four teams, the VISTA volunteers brought in the largest haul of the day. 

Keele Sanitation provided the roll-off dumpster — which was filled with the detritus the volunteers gathered — and the Park County commissioners waived the landfill tipping fee for the haul. 

Burns thanked the volunteers who participated, the BLM and BOR, Park County and Keele Sanitation. She said she hopes such events not only help beautify public lands near Powell but also help educate people on the resource.

“Community awareness about this important resource is a critical part of all types of recreation,” Burns said, “from shooting sports to human-powered or motor sports.” 

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