By Meg Chapman, 07 FIREMON intern, Coeur D'Alene, ID
Remember the computer game "The Oregon Trail?" The one in which your wagon caravan never actually reaches the Oregon coast â€˜cause everyone, including your cattle, die along the way? Well this past weekend, I actually got to walk along the same trail used by thousands of Americans who headed west in search of "greener pastures." And although we didn't see any dead cattle, we did have a great time revamping Boise's stretch of the Oregon Trail.
This past Saturday, the 29th of September, the SCA Boise office celebrated National Public Lands Day and the 50th Anniversary of the SCA with an Oregon Trail beautification project. OK, OK, so we picked up trash...LOTS OF IT. Although I had never seen any part of the historic Oregon Trail, what I found on the outskirts of Boise was not what I had imagined. Boise's part of the trail has been greatly misused, mostly as a landfill. We are not just talking about the usual assortment of bottles and plastic bags, but crazy things such as beds, scrap metal and wood, a motorcycle, discarded underwear, and even a headless, lion lawn ornament.
Well, someone had to pick up the trash; and who better than a diverse group of people who are devoted to making a positive change in the environment? Therefore, on a very blustery, autumn morning, 20 volunteers, including Boise office staff, Ada County Parks staff, community members, alumni, and current interns and project leaders (some of whom came all the way from Coeur D'Alene!) spent 3 hours collecting approximately 4 tons of debris...all within a mile of the trailhead.
It was nice to know that our service project marked the beginning of what will be a total Boise Oregon Trail makeover, which will include several miles of reconstructed trails, and a much-needed informational kiosk. We also got fed an incredible BBQ lunch. Nothing like hard work rewarded with a full stomach. The lunch was accompanied by some great conversation and mingling amongst the volunteers, and when it looked liked we couldn't eat all the food, the rest was given to one of the city's homeless shelters. All around, it was a job well done.