Celebrating National Trails Day by Picking Up Other People’s Trash

This past Saturday, National Trails Day, we did our part to help preserve our trails.

Lake 22 Trail trash

Through our Seattle Active Dogs Meetup group (I organize a group for all dogs – not just Doxies – now too), I organized a small group to hike the Lake Twentytwo trail and pick up trash.

The last time we hiked there, the trail was super, super crowded and I was horrified by the amount of trash I saw.

I used to help with trail work on occasion before my back went bad. I’ve always felt a little down because I couldn’t help to build and restore trails anymore.

In more recent years I would occasionally pick up trash, but our last hike to Lake Twentytwo inspired me to start picking up trash on trails every time that I went.

There were three of us hiking with our dogs Saturday. We enjoyed the pleasant, vigorous hike up and had lunch on a sunny rock at the lake.

We took out our garbage bags and “gloves” (two of us just used doggie poo bags) and picked up trash on the way back down.

Lake Twentytwo View

We had a lot of fun with it. Part of the reason for having several people pick up trash on a busy day was for others to see us.

It wasn’t because we wanted them to thank us or see how “good” we were. Instead, it was to make picking up trash a visible, fun thing to do in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

Kind of like kids, we made a game of it to see who could spot it first and pick up the most. We would laugh, joke and make a production of it every time we did it.

I know our evil planned worked at least a little because people chuckled when they saw us being silly.

All together, we picked up about 3 lbs of trash, enjoyed a beautiful day on the trail, and enjoyed good company.

Lake Twentytwo - Gretel in the treeDid you do anything for National Trails Day?

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Good for you guys. It’s pretty sad that we even have other peoples trash to pick up. People drive me crazy sometimes.

    1. I didn’t find any pieces of glass for your collection while we were out 🙂 Half of the plastic bottles we saw were obviously tossed 15 feet into the woods! Really people?? If you are going to litter, at least leave it where people can safely pick it up without damaging the environment. We has to leave some 🙁

  2. That is a brilliant idea for a planned group hike! I cannot stand seeing all the trash people will leave behind on a trail or even on our protected beaches and waterways. I never will understand such people who have such little respect for nature.

    1. I just absolutely don’t get it either. Didn’t your Mama teach you not to litter? I was hoping for a larger group of people but was nervous that would be a challenge on a crowded trail. Three of us was perfect and there was plenty of t rash to go around. It was interesting because the type of person that hikes specifically to pick up trash, and the atmosphere it created, was different than with our other group outings.

  3. That is a great idea. I think I will try to organize a group to pick up trash instead of just our usual grumbling about it

    1. I was always grumbling about it too. Once I decided to pick up everything I saw and could safely get to, it started to be a feel-good thing though. It still bewilders and saddens me but it took some of the sting away 🙂

  4. I don’t understand why people feel it’s acceptable to dump their trash wherever they want to. Thank you for your efforts and I hope others see you and get the message.

    1. That is my hope too. My reason for doing it goes beyond just cleaning up the trail. My hope is that one day someone will see me doing it and be inspired to do the same the next time they are out.

  5. How fun! We took our dog for a vigorous hike as well. Luckily, our trail didn’t have any trash to carry out – although we did leave with a few poo bags! Thanks for helping to keep trails enjoyable for all!

    1. I am happy to say that there are a lot of trails in the area where I don’t see any, or very minimal, trash. This trail was particularly crowded and particularly trashy but at least it’s not super pervasive…yet 🙁

  6. Great idea! An organized clean-up day would make it more fun. After seeing that gorgeous photo, I just can’t believe anyone would be that inconsiderate to leave trash behind there. It’s such a beautiful landscape.

    1. It’s a relatively easy trail with, as you saw, a very spectacular destination. That means that it is accessible to people who don’t know much about hiking…. or not littering in the woods, apparently. I also see a lot of people cutting switchbacks and wandering off the trail here. That maddens me too. One of my hiking partners kind of obnoxiously called out a family for cutting the trail and the father said “Yeah, we just found this cool short-cut”. Um…it was a dry stream bed, not a trail. Obviously he didn’t understand the idea of a natural feature versus an established trail and that you are not supposed to wander off of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.