Organizing a Trail Guardian Cleanup Event

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theBROFESSOR

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

4,102
Conway, Arkansas
Member #

8306

ORGANIZING A TRAIL GUARDIAN CLEANUP EVENT

Why We Clean Up Trails and Public Lands

Without trails, roads, and public lands "overlanding" would not exist for most of us. There has to be somewhere to go if we want to Outfit and Explore.

Outfitting our rigs is fun, often expensive, and we put our heart and souls into them, but without places to go we will just be concrete warriors spending our time shining wheels and polishing vehicles. We would not be on Overland Bound if what we wanted was to cruise malls and city streets. Adventure is Necessary. We need trails and public lands.

Help Those Who Help Us

Governments help provide places to go and protect our rights to adventure into parks, forests and public lands. We must understand this is a privilege. They don’t have to keep roads and trails open. If you look at the Interactive Map provided by the U.S. Federal Government, for example, that lets us know which roads and trails are open and to what type of vehicle, you will see many trails are now closed. Trails and roads are constantly being reviewed and regulated. If the government feels at any time that these places are being abused, they have the authority to shut them down and mark them closed.

We must do our part to help make sure this doesn’t happen. We must do what we can to give back and make a difference, especially as overlanding becomes more and more popular.

Overland Bound is a place where those with the same interests and hobbies come together, creating friendships and lifelong bonds. We meet up, ride together, attend events and laugh and enjoy life together.

We can make a difference in helping assure lands stay open for all to use.


HOW CAN WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

1. Contact your local Agency.

Here in Arkansas, in the US, I contacted the local Forestry Service for the Ozarks and Ouachita National Forests. They are the agency in this area that controls, regulates and guards the places we explore. I let them know I work with a group called Overland Bound and that we have a program called the Trail Guardian where volunteers go around and pick up trash and do area cleanups. I advised them that the reason for my call was that they would know the places that needed the most attention and that I wanted to organize groups each month to partner with them and help clean up these areas.

After their initial shock, they were very appreciative for my willingness to help. The Forest Service lady said she would immediately send a highlighted map of areas that need the most attention. About three days later I received maps in the mail.

In the states you can also contact the U.S. Forest Service via email through their Volunteer and Service Coordinators listed on their website (https://www.fs.fed.us/working-with-us/volunteers/contact-us).

Let us know what agencies and organizations are in your country that can help identify areas that need a cleanup and we'll make that information available to others.

2. Create a Trail Cleanup with Rally Point

  • Figure out which area you want to do. Try to make it a little adventurous and interesting to those involved but make it mainly in the needed areas. Most likely these aren’t going to be the best trails you know. They are going to be the most traveled areas. But it will show the agency your willingness to sacrifice your time because you feel it is necessary. Make the complete route about 20 miles. Any more and you will be rushed to complete the clean-up. Any less you and you will not be able to achieve your goals of making a significant difference.
  • Create the Rally Point – you will need a meeting spot that everyone can find easily. You will need to have a general idea of what you want to do. You can make changes to this. The main thing is that you are taking the first step to make sure this happens.
GET READY - MAKING PLANS & PREPARING

1. Get the word out


  • At the top of the Overland Bound website you see a tab called “map.” If you click that it will drop down and you can select “my position.” This will show all of the Overland Bound members in your area. You can zoom out to a good sized area around you. Then you can click the little conversation button in the top right. That will take you to a place where you can “start a new conversation” with everyone in your area on the screen. Send a message out with a link to your Rally Point.
  • Copy and paste the link to your Rally Point below to as many places as possible to get the word out - in a new thread, on your Facebook Overland Bound group, other off-road or overlanding groups and chats. Even if they aren’t a member of OB, they can visit the website, learn about the good deeds we are doing, and may actually get involved in helping clean up. This helps to get the word out so as many people know about it as possible.
2. What to bring (Checklist)

  • Rubber Gloves – the cheap gloves that you use to wash dishes. You don’t want to be touching some of the things you will encounter on these trails.
  • Small plastic trash bags – I use mainly the small plastic grocery bags like you get at the grocery. These are handy in collecting most of what you will find on the trails and roads – beer cans and bottles. I use carabiners to attach them to the rear of my vehilce so they are easy to get to.
  • Large Trash Bags – Fill up the smaller plastic bags and put them in larger trash bags.
  • Trasharoo or other Garbage/Recycling Bag – Mine always stays on my rig. I don’t want trash inside my vehicle and imagine you don't either.
  • Large Totes to carry trash in – I carry my Plano Storage boxes with me on my roof rack. These pack a lot of trash and are easily washed out and cleaned.
  • Trailer or Receiver Hitch Rack – I put my receiver hitch rack on just to be able to carry as much trash as I can. It also allows me to leave the larger bags on the back until I get ready to stop and pack the trash into the Plano Boxes. Trailers aren’t necessary for the most part. But sometimes you will encounter something very large. Make a note of the item and the place it was so that you can come back specifically for that one thing. You don’t want to pull a trailer around all day on some of these rough roads.
  • Cameras – Make sure you bring your camera/GoPro or whatever you use to make pictures and videos. Documenting this for everyone is important. It lets others know we care about our environment, shows our love for the places we explore, and can encourage them to do the same. When your pictures are ready upload them to Overland Bound in your Trail Guardian cleanup thread and post them on Instagram and tag #trailguardian. Doing this will also solidify your opportunity to receive the Trail Guardian Coin.


DO IT! - MEET UP AND CLEAN UP

1. Let Everyone Know the Route


  • In a pre-cleanup meeting at your Rally Point, let everyone know the route that you will be taking.
  • Make sure that you have looked at the interactive map to see if there are open trails around where you will be going. If you have enough volunteers, let some of the volunteers go out on the side trails and pick up and then meet back up with you later down the main road.
2. Make Sure Everyone has Supplies

  • As the organizer of the Rally Point, make sure you bring extra supplies (gloves, small bags, trash bags, etc.) to ensure everyone has what they need.
  • Hand these out as needed now and along the route.
3. Make it to the route

  • Keep everyone spaced out.
  • Make sure there is some type of common communications (CB’s, 2-way radios etc.) with all vehicles so that nothing is missed along the route. You might have to bring extras.
  • Let following vehicles know of side routes that are to be done along the way.
4. Take a BREAK

  • We all like to eat. Stop and have lunch. Get to know each other.
  • Take this time and compact all of what has been collected so far to make room for more.
  • Make sure all trash is secure so it doesn’t fall off vehicles during your cleanup route.
5. Continue to the End

  • Do as much as possible in whatever time you have.
  • If there are sights to see or landmarks, go ahead and stop and enjoy yourself. You are doing a good thing for the environment and are working for its improvement. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and enjoy your time outside.
  • At the end of the route, double check all trash and make sure it is secure for the ride home on the main roads. The last thing we want is to collect trash and then have it blow off on the way home.
  • Make sure everyone has a place to dispose of the trash they have collected (home trash cans, available dumpsters or landfills).
6. Thank everyone for coming and plan to meet up again

  • People don’t have to do this. This is not a requirement for membership in OB. They have given up their time, money and who knows what else to come out and do this. Make sure you tell them “thank you.”
  • This is a good time to exchange numbers, create Facebook Groups etc. so that you all can get together again for another Trail Cleanup or planning a fun outing.
  • Have a safe Trip Home.
FOLLOW UP - POST TRAIL CLEANUP

1. Contact your agency and let them know you followed through.


  • It’s amazing the number of people that say they want to volunteer and never do. Let your agency know you followed through on what you said you would do. Send them some of your images.
  • Let them know if you plan to do it again (when and how often). This builds trust and a partnership with them.
2. Post pics and videos

  • Post on OB site so that everyone knows what was done. This also might spark and interest in others to do the same in their areas.
  • Post on your Facebook groups and also on Instagram and tag #trailguardian.
3. Plan for your next Trail Cleanup

It is sad this job is never ending. There will always be people out there who do not care about the trails like we do. It is great, though, that there are good people who not only do their part in making sure we take care of this beautiful world, but help make up for others who do not.

To those who love this beautiful world as much as I do, we need places to go. Overlanding will be nothing if we lose our places to explore.

Thank you for doing your part.



.
 

theBROFESSOR

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

4,102
Conway, Arkansas
Member #

8306

If you are wanting to do volunteer work with the Federal Government on their land (such as in National Parks or Forests) you will need to fill out and submit a Volunteer Agreement and a Volunteer Application (attachments included) and send those in to your local office. You can find out more information on this at their website...

https://www.fs.fed.us/working-with-us/volunteers

When you organize an event you will also need to have everyone fill out the Volunteer Service agreement which is very easy and send this to them at the completion of your event.

In doing this you will...
This also helps us out in letting the Forest Service know that we are following up and following through on our promises and our efforts to help keep the area clean.
 

Attachments

Road

Not into ranks, titles or points.
Member

Advocate III

4,149
On the road in North America
Member #

6589

If you are wanting to do volunteer work with the Federal Government on their land (such as in National Parks or Forests) you will need to fill out and submit a Volunteer Agreement and a Volunteer Application (attachments included) and send those in to your local office. You can find out more information on this at their website...

https://www.fs.fed.us/working-with-us/volunteers

When you organize an event you will also need to have everyone fill out the Volunteer Service agreement which is very easy and send this to them at the completion of your event.

In doing this you will...
This also helps us out in letting the Forest Service know that we are following up and following through on our promises and our efforts to help keep the area clean.
Perfect, @theBROFESSOR, thank you for adding the Volunteer Application and Volunteer Agreement. I'm going to leave it up to you to check periodically to see if they have amended/updated their forms so we have the most current available to members and public.

Thank you for all you're doing; it's amazing how helpful members can be and you're great at leading by example!
 
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HappyOurOverlanding

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Traveler I

4,070
Verdi Nevada
Member #

9206

Ham Callsign
KI7RAM
ORGANIZING A TRAIL GUARDIAN CLEANUP EVENT

Why We Clean Up Trails and Public Lands


Without trails, roads, and public lands "overlanding" would not exist for most of us. There has to be somewhere to go if we want to Outfit and Explore.

Outfitting our rigs is fun, often expensive, and we put our heart and souls into them, but without places to go we will just be concrete warriors spending our time shining wheels and polishing vehicles. We would not be on Overland Bound if what we wanted was to cruise malls and city streets. Adventure is Necessary. We need trails and public lands.

Help Those Who Help Us

Governments help provide places to go and protect our rights to adventure into parks, forests and public lands. We must understand this is a privilege. They don’t have to keep roads and trails open. If you look at the Interactive Map provided by the U.S. Federal Government, for example, that lets us know which roads and trails are open and to what type of vehicle, you will see many trails are now closed. Trails and roads are constantly being reviewed and regulated. If the government feels at any time that these places are being abused, they have the authority to shut them down and mark them closed.

We must do our part to help make sure this doesn’t happen. We must do what we can to give back and make a difference, especially as overlanding becomes more and more popular.

Overland Bound is a place where those with the same interests and hobbies come together, creating friendships and lifelong bonds. We meet up, ride together, attend events and laugh and enjoy life together.

We can make a difference in helping assure lands stay open for all to use.


HOW CAN WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

1. Contact your local Agency.


Here in Arkansas, in the US, I contacted the local Forestry Service for the Ozarks and Ouachita National Forests. They are the agency in this area that controls, regulates and guards the places we explore. I let them know I work with a group called Overland Bound and that we have a program called the Trail Guardian where volunteers go around and pick up trash and do area cleanups. I advised them that the reason for my call was that they would know the places that needed the most attention and that I wanted to organize groups each month to partner with them and help clean up these areas.

After their initial shock, they were very appreciative for my willingness to help. The Forest Service lady said she would immediately send a highlighted map of areas that need the most attention. About three days later I received maps in the mail.

In the states you can also contact the U.S. Forest Service via email through their Volunteer and Service Coordinators listed on their website (Region, Station, Area Volunteers & Service Coordinators | US Forest Service).

Let us know what agencies and organizations are in your country that can help identify areas that need a cleanup and we'll make that information available to others.

2. Create a Trail Cleanup with Rally Point

  • Figure out which area you want to do. Try to make it a little adventurous and interesting to those involved but make it mainly in the needed areas. Most likely these aren’t going to be the best trails you know. They are going to be the most traveled areas. But it will show the agency your willingness to sacrifice your time because you feel it is necessary. Make the complete route about 20 miles. Any more and you will be rushed to complete the clean-up. Any less you and you will not be able to achieve your goals of making a significant difference.

  • Create the Rally Point – you will need a meeting spot that everyone can find easily. You will need to have a general idea of what you want to do. You can make changes to this. The main thing is that you are taking the first step to make sure this happens.
GET READY - MAKING PLANS & PREPARING

1. Get the word out

  • At the top of the Overland Bound website you see a tab called “map.” If you click that it will drop down and you can select “my position.” This will show all of the Overland Bound members in your area. You can zoom out to a good sized area around you. Then you can click the little conversation button in the top right. That will take you to a place where you can “start a new conversation” with everyone in your area on the screen. Send a message out with a link to your Rally Point.

  • Copy and paste the link to your Rally Point below to as many places as possible to get the word out - in a new thread, on your Facebook Overland Bound group, other off-road or overlanding groups and chats. Even if they aren’t a member of OB, they can visit the website, learn about the good deeds we are doing, and may actually get involved in helping clean up. This helps to get the word out so as many people know about it as possible.
2. What to bring (Checklist)

  • Rubber Gloves – the cheap gloves that you use to wash dishes. You don’t want to be touching some of the things you will encounter on these trails.
  • Small plastic trash bags – I use mainly the small plastic grocery bags like you get at the grocery. These are handy in collecting most of what you will find on the trails and roads – beer cans and bottles. I use carabiners to attach them to the rear of my vehilce so they are easy to get to.
  • Large Trash Bags – Fill up the smaller plastic bags and put them in larger trash bags.
  • Trasharoo or other Garbage/Recycling Bag – Mine always stays on my rig. I don’t want trash inside my vehicle and imagine you don't either.
  • Large Totes to carry trash in – I carry my Plano Storage boxes with me on my roof rack. These pack a lot of trash and are easily washed out and cleaned.
  • Trailer or Receiver Hitch Rack – I put my receiver hitch rack on just to be able to carry as much trash as I can. It also allows me to leave the larger bags on the back until I get ready to stop and pack the trash into the Plano Boxes. Trailers aren’t necessary for the most part. But sometimes you will encounter something very large. Make a note of the item and the place it was so that you can come back specifically for that one thing. You don’t want to pull a trailer around all day on some of these rough roads.
  • Cameras – Make sure you bring your camera/GoPro or whatever you use to make pictures and videos. Documenting this for everyone is important. It lets others know we care about our environment, shows our love for the places we explore, and can encourage them to do the same. When your pictures are ready upload them to Overland Bound in your Trail Guardian cleanup thread and post them on Instagram and tag #trailguardian. Doing this will also solidify your opportunity to receive the Trail Guardian Coin.


DO IT! - MEET UP AND CLEAN UP

1. Let Everyone Know the Route

  • In a pre-cleanup meeting at your Rally Point, let everyone know the route that you will be taking.

  • Make sure that you have looked at the interactive map to see if there are open trails around where you will be going. If you have enough volunteers, let some of the volunteers go out on the side trails and pick up and then meet back up with you later down the main road.
2. Make Sure Everyone has Supplies

  • As the organizer of the Rally Point, make sure you bring extra supplies (gloves, small bags, trash bags, etc.) to ensure everyone has what they need.

  • Hand these out as needed now and along the route.
3. Make it to the route

  • Keep everyone spaced out.

  • Make sure there is some type of common communications (CB’s, 2-way radios etc.) with all vehicles so that nothing is missed along the route. You might have to bring extras.

  • Let following vehicles know of side routes that are to be done along the way.
4. Take a BREAK

  • We all like to eat. Stop and have lunch. Get to know each other.

  • Take this time and compact all of what has been collected so far to make room for more.

  • Make sure all trash is secure so it doesn’t fall off vehicles during your cleanup route.
5. Continue to the End

  • Do as much as possible in whatever time you have.

  • If there are sights to see or landmarks, go ahead and stop and enjoy yourself. You are doing a good thing for the environment and are working for its improvement. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and enjoy your time outside.

  • At the end of the route, double check all trash and make sure it is secure for the ride home on the main roads. The last thing we want is to collect trash and then have it blow off on the way home.

  • Make sure everyone has a place to dispose of the trash they have collected (home trash cans, available dumpsters or landfills).
6. Thank everyone for coming and plan to meet up again

  • People don’t have to do this. This is not a requirement for membership in OB. They have given up their time, money and who knows what else to come out and do this. Make sure you tell them “thank you.”

  • This is a good time to exchange numbers, create Facebook Groups etc. so that you all can get together again for another Trail Cleanup or planning a fun outing.

  • Have a safe Trip Home.
FOLLOW UP - POST TRAIL CLEANUP

1. Contact your agency and let them know you followed through.

  • It’s amazing the number of people that say they want to volunteer and never do. Let your agency know you followed through on what you said you would do. Send them some of your images.

  • Let them know if you plan to do it again (when and how often). This builds trust and a partnership with them.
2. Post pics and videos

  • Post on OB site so that everyone knows what was done. This also might spark and interest in others to do the same in their areas.

  • Post on your Facebook groups and also on Instagram and tag #trailguardian.
3. Plan for your next Trail Cleanup

It is sad this job is never ending. There will always be people out there who do not care about the trails like we do. It is great, though, that there are good people who not only do their part in making sure we take care of this beautiful world, but help make up for others who do not.

To those who love this beautiful world as much as I do, we need places to go. Overlanding will be nothing if we lose our places to explore.

Thank you for doing your part.



.
Thanks for the info. I visited the local US Forest Service office (Carson City, NV) last week and met with the director in charge of the most of the state. We reviewed what was expected and what forms were needed to sponsor a trail, etc. Bottom line, the Reno Overlanding Group is now sponsoring a local trail in the Reno, NV area. It's one of the most abused trails in the area. The USFS director was quite appreciative for folks (like those in OB) who are willing to assist since they are spread so thin in our state (and I imagine in other states also). More to come.
 

theBROFESSOR

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

4,102
Conway, Arkansas
Member #

8306

Thanks for the info. I visited the local US Forest Service office (Carson City, NV) last week and met with the director in charge of the most of the state. We reviewed what was expected and what forms were needed to sponsor a trail, etc. Bottom line, the Reno Overlanding Group is now sponsoring a local trail in the Reno, NV area. It's one of the most abused trails in the area. The USFS director was quite appreciative for folks (like those in OB) who are willing to assist since they are spread so thin in our state (and I imagine in other states also). More to come.
That is great news bro! I wish more members and groups on here would take the initiative to do something good like this! Awesome job!
 
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