Trip Report: Patriot Jeepers, Inc Earth Day Trail Clean-Up
On April 24, 2004 Patriot Jeepers Inc. held its 2nd annual Earth Day trail clean-up. The area targeted was located in Central Massachusetts. This area is a favorite trail ride for 4 wheel drive clubs, ATV and motorcycle owners. The area has some challenging topography with obstacles like Double Locker Hill. Every time our group has run this area we have rescued some local wheeler from the “area”. This day was no different.

Planning for this event began months earlier by Rich Banfield. Rich arranged with town selectmen and the Local Highway Department to have a large dumpster placed near the trailhead and had the town agree to take a large quantity of tires. It was especially necessary to get the town to accept the tires because an earlier inspection of the area revealed quite a few. This trail network receives a lion share of the illegal dumping. An un-maintained but passable town road runs through this large undeveloped tract of land and it is an easy place to dump things landfills won’t take or charge extra to accept. You name it we found it there.

Our day began by meeting at our usual spot. We broke into three groups and attacked three areas of the trail. Our group began at the bottom of the town road and worked our way up. I towed my jeep trailer up the road and our group loaded it up with some of the finest shag carpet, couch, chairs, tires, automotive parts etc. Yea, there was a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, windows, paint cans, mattresses and bicycles. We not only had the trailer filled but filled Scott’s XJ and Dave’s XJ and Nick was driving my Willys filled with trash.

Another group lead by Brandon, Patriot’s official webmaster and photographer, departed the meeting area for their designated section of trail. Brandon in his XJ and Sharon and Bill in Sharon’s TJ met up with Bob and Lynn from New England Jeepz who were waiting at the trailhead. After a short trip on the paved roads they made it to the general area to be cleaned. The trail looked pretty clean until they drove another ten feet. This section was littered with trash and tires. The group picked up as much as they could fit on or in their jeeps. Creative packing was the challenge of the day and all jeeps returned to the dumpster looking like Jed Clampet’s pick-up while moving to Beverly, Hills that is.

The group slowly made their way towards the other groups picking up as much junk as they could. They picked tires off a pole that looked like someone had played a game of “ring toss” with them. They loaded those tires onto the roof and hood of Brandon’s XJ (a total of 15) and moved on. Sharon and Bill picked up a couch and strapped it to the roof of their TJ. Bob and Lynn loaded a couple of tires on their hood and carried trash bags on their bumper. Moving down the trail they really looked like modern day Beverly Hillbillies. They all had a chuckle every time they looked at each other. When they made it to the dumpster they said goodbye to Bob and Lynn. Sharon, Bill, and Brandon headed back up the trail to grab a few more bags of trash.

The third group was lead by Rich Banfield and headed to the top of the mountain. Rich was towing his small Jeep trailer behind his CJ7. Ken and Mike followed. It was not long before they spotted trash and tires. The group found plenty of tires, a bag of oil filters and empty oil containers. At the top they picked up empty beer cans, and found some big truck tires buried in the mud and the brush. Rich got out his tow strap and Ken attached it to the tires and Mike pulled them out with his Jeep TJ. Rich’s trailer was filling up real fast.

Rich’s group picked up the insides of a washing machine and an old organ and loaded it on to the trailer. They moved on to where the town line is marked by a stone marker dated 1910. The metal sign post was still intact but missing the town signs.

They stopped and cleared bush from around the marker so it would stay visible. Mike pulled a part of a seat out of the ground. He also found a Walkman with a classic piano tape inside. Further down the road they cut back more brush encroaching onto the road.

They picked up two bed mattresses and loaded them on top of the trailer. Then they met everyone at the crossroad and had lunch. Later Bill from New England Jeepz showed up. He had to work in the morning but wanted to lend a hand. When all the groups had cleaned their designated areas it was now time to have fun. Everyone met at the local ice cream stand and had cones and swapped stories with each other and a few interested locals as well.

Some of the trash removed by Patriot Jeepers included an organ, TV sets, vacuum cleaner, Shag rug (It will come back in style some day), 2 Mattress, sofa, the insides of a washing machine, a cassette Walkman, oil filters, beer cans, soda cans, couch, fake leather chair, gas grill, LP tank, gas tank, mufflers, antifreeze jugs, and 75 tires some on rims. We filled a 15-yard dumpster to overflowing. Thanks to Rich Banfield and Brandon for their input for this article.

Group 1: Paul, Nick, Scott and Dave.
Group 2: Brandon, Sharon,,Bill, Bob and Lynn
Group 3: Ken, Mike and Rich Banfield

Paul Dockrey

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