Crews clean popular Lake Tahoe-area sledding site

SPOONER SUMMIT, Nev. (KOLO) About a dozen people with white plastic bags headed to the hills Friday at a popular sledding location near Spooner Summit on Highway 28.

A Heineken bottle in the area near Spooner Summit being cleaned up. Photo by Terri Russell/KOLO.

Their mission: to pick up as much garbage as possible left by men, women and children who enjoyed this mountainside during the winter.

“I am actually blown away. I thought we would be out here for, you know, 15 minutes, maybe get half a bag. And as you can see I have a full bag. And it's not just me; it is everyone," says Brynsley Michael, who is a barista at a Starbucks in Incline Village.

Bryn and a couple of her friends from Starbucks volunteered for the day, along with the Tahoe Fund and the U.S Forest Service and members of the aquatic watercraft invasive species inspection.

It's been an annual event and one they say is much-needed as more and more families enjoy the free sledding, but tend to leave their garbage behind.

“Everyone kept seeing people leaving their sleds all along the hill. And last year they were scattered everywhere. So we piloted something we call a sled corral. And it is four posts in the ground with construction webbing wrapped around and a sign that said please leave your sleds here. And it gave people one specific place to leave their sleds,” says Amy Berry with the Tahoe Fund.

Pictures of one of those sled corrals taken earlier in the season show half a dozen plastic saucers left behind. But despite the convenience, not everyone used the corrals.

Bits and pieces of plastic, along with most of the saucers, are still left behind with this group more than happy to pick them up and pack them out of the area.

But there's also paper, bottles, and cardboard under trees and bushes and along the trail. It's simple and repetitive work, but no less important.

“We think it is really important to pass along the no trace information along to our children. Because we want our children to eventually inherit this national forest and we want them to know about keeping their national forest beautiful,” says Lisa Herron with the US Forest Service.

Last year the group collected enough trash to fill a dozen of these bags.
At the rate they went Friday, they expect to collect just as much, if not more.