A Litter-ary Opportunity

When I was a kid, my dad would drop my brother and me off at the top of the hill by our house with a couple Jirdon feed bags and have us pick up litter while we were waiting for a cattle truck. We would fill the bags on the way down the hill, picking up everything from pop bottles to diapers.

According to the “Star Herald,” tourism to the Scotts Bluff National Monument in 2022 added $15 million to our local economy and supported 179 local jobs. This number probably overlaps a little with other tourism opportunities like Oregon Trail Days, or the High Plains (Rat Rod) Riot. With local stops on the Nebraska Passport and other promotions throughout Scotts Bluff County, a lot of visitors drive through our area.

Chasing balloons or bikes or ball players brings a lot of families to our community. What nicer way to greet our visitors than with clean roadsides? This would further show off our beautiful landscape for travelers as well as residents.

If you are interested in picking up some litter on your daily walk, you can check out a litter kit from the Gering Library. Each kit contains a bucket, some bags, gloves, a very fashionable safety vest, a scale, and a litter-picker-upper stick. 

If you would like to make a longer term commitment to a cleaner Scotts Bluff County, you can contact Keep Scottsbluff Gering Beautiful (KSGB) and they will set you up with a highway to keep clean. The director, Cassidy Baum, can be reached at 308-632-4649 for more information. KSGB will even pay you to do it!

A group I belong to recently adopted a highway on the edge of town, and we went out to pick up litter last weekend. We walked half of our designated road before we called it a day. Nine volunteers spent three and a half hours picking up over 400 pounds of litter. It had been a while since this stretch of road was cleaned up, and it was a mess. We picked up tires, an entire set of clothing, home decor, drug paraphernalia and an air-pistol, along with hundreds and hundreds of little shooter alcohol bottles. 

On a side note, I did some research and discovered that most of these tiny bottles of “Fireball” sold in gas stations are not actually Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. They are labeled to mislead people into buying a malt liquor beverage rather than the original distilled spirit. Either way, these companies are making a killing and should be ashamed of the behavior of their consumers.

I grew up in the days of Woodsy Owl, who said “Give a hoot – don’t pollute!” I think it was more the experience of dad making us pick up litter than the spokes-owl, but this weekend reinforced my determination to not contribute to garbage in our ditches. I encourage you to take advantage of our litter pick-up kits and keep Scotts Bluff County beautiful.

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