Patriot Jeepers

National Trails Day Trail Clean Up

by Paul Dockrey

  Juju Mt.Western, Mass. The Patriot Jeepers Jeep club celebrated National Trails Day 2002 by sponsoring a trail clean up. National Trails Day is held the first Saturday of every June. It is a nationwide celebration of trails. With more than two thousand events hosted by trail clubs, conservation organizations, agencies, and businesses, NTD is considered America's largest celebration of the outdoors.

The area chosen for the clean up was a network of trails used by off-roaders, hikers and hunters. This area was chosen because it seems to be especially hard hit by illegal dumping. Each year organized OHV clubs remove cars, white goods, old furniture and construction debris from this trail system. Rich Banfield of Patriot Jeepers organized the clean up. Rich has organized clean-up events for the last several years.

On Saturday June 1st 10 Jeeps, two with Jeeo trailers, a pick-up with a car carrier and 15 people met to begin the clean up. The Patriot Jeepers were joined by a couple of locals who 4wheel in the area. Rich divided our gang into two groups. One group was detailed to remove an old Dodge Monaco and a compact car so burned it was unidentifiable. The second group was also detailed to remove an old Chevy Biscayne and other debris.

The burned compact was a breeze. Lying on its roof like some dead creature, it was easily righted and dragged out of the woods by Roger Barton and his Dodge pickup to the waiting car carrier donated by Mark St.Laurant and Russ Durning.

When the gang arrived at the Monaco it was discovered that the car was rotted into sections. It decided to drag the pieces out to a gravel road and reduce it to scrap with torches. A couple of Cherokees and a CJ-5 pulled parts to Nick Warchol who was slicing and dicing with torches. In an hour we had the whole Dodge cut and loaded into two quarter-ton jeep trailers. Only the engine and transmission remained to be dragged down to the car carrier. The second group successfully removed the old Chevy.

By lunchtime both groups had met at The Junkyard to empty our trailers and roof racks of trash. After a quick lunch the two groups were back at cleaning the trails.

By the end of the day 3 cars, and two truck loads of metal and white goods had been removed from the area. In the last 10 years Rich Banfield has organized clean-up events that have removed 16 cars and tons of trash. This area is very hard hit by illegal dumping because it is accessible by two wheel drive vehicles and is secluded.

As landfills close, tipping fees increase and towns become more restrictive as to what items will be allowed at curbside pick up, illegal dumping will increase. Some people think the solution to the problem is to close trails, gate access roads and deny the public use of public lands. Although the solution is complex, environmental damage can be mitigated by the efforts of organized groups like off highway vehicle clubs.

In addition to those Patriot Jeepers already mentioned we would like to also thank Jonathan Dockrey, Sandy Miller, Mark Strohl, Jim Higgins, Tom & Michelle Breault. Also thank you to those local people who helped, Gregg Harter, Ray Lagrant, Ken & Mark Lagimeniere, Paul Regish, who opened the junk yard for us and Dick O'Reilly who owns the Junk yard. Without all these peoplešs help, time and equipment the clean up wouldnšt be possible.


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