Thursday, June 10, 2010

Announcing Bring One Back

Every year as the snow melts, a hidden cache of garbage and feces is revealed. The strong spring winds carry trash into places people may never have even set foot. Having lived in Summit County since 2007, I've watched 3 thaws come and go. When I first spied the green trash bags on the roadside one Spring afternoon, I assumed an extremely productive prison work program had swept through the entire county in a single morning. A later consultation with the Daily corrected my ignorance and clued me in to just how much people here respect both their locale and their neighbors. Town Cleanup Day was unheard of where I grew up, especially in the trash-filled streets of Manhattan, my home prior to Colorado.
Respect for the outdoors is a common theme in Summit, with community activity programs including the Legacy Forest project and SPA's Make A Difference Day. Even the Bar-B-Ques around the county are models for recycling, composting, and waste minimization. While conservation is one of our strongest community values, we must teach that no step is too small, and that picking up even a single piece of litter starts a world of change. Say hi to BOB.

Our Mission

Many of us make use of the beautiful and expansive backcountry environment around us, often in multiple combinations of hiking, biking, riding and driving. The idea behind Bring One Back (BOB) is simple, when you engage in an outdoor activity, bring one piece of garbage back with you. I'm not suggesting you singlehandedly drag a rusting refrigerator out of a gulch, but on recent hikes I've seen (and taken) candy wrappers, plastic bottles, newspapers, and cardboard boxes. If the wind can carry it, you can too.

Our Contest

From now until December 31, 2010, BOB will be holding a contest to see who can bring back the most litter from their outdoor activities. Participants are encouraged to check-in with BOB when they remove an article of trash during an outdoor activity. Only 1 check-in is counted towards the contest results per hour per person, but your efforts are still recognized. 1 additional point may be granted per check-in  given for images of the oddest trash found or for artifacts to ignore, depending on image quality and veracity. After the completion of the contest, an awards dinner will be held to acknowledge your efforts and award prizes to the most active participants.
There are two classes of participants, adult and youth (under 18 as of Sept 15, 2010). Participation is encouraged but only Summit County or adjacent county residents qualify for check-ins counting towards prizes. Awards of $100 will be presented to the winner from each class, and certificates will be presented for runners-up and outstanding accomplishments such as most remote picture of litter and most photos submitted.

How to Check-in

To let us know when you have brought back some litter or found a notable artifact to leave in place, you can contact us in any of the following ways:
Email - send a mail to Pictures may be included. Include "t!" in the message if you are in the teen category. Include "private" if you prefer to have your name hidden. Teen names are automatically hidden unless using twitter, twitpic, facebook or Sample:
"removed chips bag wrapper when biking on Swan Mountain recpath -Noah Z"


- leave a voicemail with 425-CHECKIN(425-243-2546). Start by saying "teen" or "private" if applicable.


- send a text to 425-CHECKIN (425-243-2546). Picture messages are not supported at this time. Include "t!" or "private" in the message if applicable.


- tweet @bringoneback. Links to trash and ruins images are encouraged. Include "t!" if you are in the teen category.


- Post a comment at Include "t!" if you are in the teen category.


- Post a comment at Include "t!" if you are in the teen category.

Please include your name with the first message of each type so we know who to give credit to. Younger teens are encouraged to maintain their privacy by only using email, text and voice messaging.

All messages should include a description of the item removed or found and your activity, and optionally where you found it. 


Check back for events details. Informational sessions and group hikes are currently being scheduled.


  • Be aware of the difference between trash and ruins, please don't pick up rusted old tin cans or any mining ruins! I repeat, leave ruins alone! These are considered objects of antiquity (old but interesting) and removing them is subject to fines and/or prison time according to US Code Title 16,433! If you aren't sure, take a picture and share it, if it's removable we'll give you credit for the checkin even if it is removed by someone else.
  • Wash your hands after handling trash.  
  • Don't handle medical or hazardous waste unless you have the appropriate training.
  • Use your brain, don't pick up jagged pieces of glass if you do not have a proper container for storage and possibly protective gloves. For transporting sharp glass I recommend a small glass jar (it'll be loud) or small plastic resealable bins from companies like Glad and Tupperware. Tetanus may, in rare cases, develop after puncturing your skin with rusted metal, so if you are not up to date on your Tetanus vaccination, take extra caution after a wound and consult a medical professional if any symptoms develop.
  • Don't wander off trails onto private property to collect trash! Be aware of backcountry motorists and bikers if you are obstructing the trail as a group.

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