For second straight year, groups to clean up Polecat Bench

Event set for Saturday

Posted 9/9/21

Although Polecat Bench is known around the world for its unique geology and fossils, the formation north of Powell may be best known among locals as a popular spot for litterers.

“Right now …

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For second straight year, groups to clean up Polecat Bench

Event set for Saturday

Posted

Although Polecat Bench is known around the world for its unique geology and fossils, the formation north of Powell may be best known among locals as a popular spot for litterers.

“Right now the Polecat Bench is kind of a dumping ground — and it has been for decades,” said Rebekah Burns, executive director of the Powell Economic Partnership (PEP)/Powell Chamber.

However, Burns is leading an effort to clean up the area and change the perception of what is “an enormous asset.” For instance, there have been discussions about developing recreation opportunities on the bench, such as for mountain biking.

“If we can incite pride,” Burns said, “our thought is the dumping will cease.”

On Saturday, PEP will again host a community cleanup day, encouraging volunteers to spend a part of their Saturday picking up various trash that’s been scattered around the bench.

This year the effort will be tiki-themed, and volunteers will be given leis to wear. 

PEP hosted an inaugural cleanup event last year — and 44 volunteers spread across six teams collected more than 3,500 pounds of rusted car parts, bed springs, pallets, a futon and more in only a couple hours.

“We hope we collect less trash this year,” Burns said, “but there’s been sightings of more trash up there.”

As they did in 2020, Park County commissioners unanimously agreed to waive the landfill tipping fees for all of the garbage that the volunteers collect.

Commissioner Scott Mangold of Powell said he knows many people leave stuff up on Polecat Bench.

“It needs a good cleanup,” Mangold said at an Aug. 3 meeting, enthusiastically endorsing the motion to waive the landfill fees. “I think that it’s great that people are cleaning [it] up.”

This year’s event is set to run from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The group will meet at a spot just east of Wyo. Highway 295 and the Powell Municipal Airport, about 7.5 miles north of Powell, right at the first cattle guard. Look for the dumpster, tent and tiki decorations. 

Keele Sanitation is donating the roll-off dumpster, and the event is coordinated in partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Land Management. 

Participants can sign up as a team to compete for a traveling trash trophy (awarded to whoever collects the most junk) or simply volunteer as an individual. For more information, contact PEP/Powell Chamber at 307-754-3494.

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