Ten tons of garbage. Twenty-thousand pounds. That's how much litter, refuse, concrete, asphalt, and other trash recently was removed from Yosemite National Park by an army of volunteers.
The roughly 1,150 Yosemite Facelift volunteers collected that amount of trash from along roads, streambeds, and trails during the ninth annual Yosemite Facelift event held in the park from September 25 through September 30.
During the past eight years, Facelift volunteers have made a huge impact on significantly eliminating small trash throughout Yosemite, according to park officials. The areas that have been regularly cleaned during each past event have yielded less and less small trash. As a result, this year Facelift volunteers were able to focus on a number of large-scale special projects throughout the event.
"The annual Yosemite Facelift is an event we treasure, and look forward to each year. Since Facelift began, we have noticed that there is incrementally less litter accumulated each year. We feel this is a direct result of the park's educational program and efforts through Facelift and we are extremely proud of this," remarked Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher.
One of the special projects Facelift volunteers focused on was cleaning trash and other items from the base of the Half Dome Cables and along the side of the dome where the cables are installed. Throughout the year, hikers climbing the cables accidentally drop hundreds of water bottles, shoes, cameras, and other small items. Many of these items cannot safely be recovered and remain on the side of the dome. Facelift volunteers skilled in technical rope and high angle skills were able to successfully collect hundreds of pounds of small trash from this hard to reach area.
Another special project Facelift volunteers were able to complete included picking up trash that had accumulated along the steep cliffs adjacent to the Tunnel View vista in Yosemite Valley. Throughout the year, hundreds of pounds of trash and other items have collected along steep cliff sides lining the famous view of Yosemite Valley. Much of this trash could not be removed without protective gear due to the steep angle of the cliffs. Facelift volunteers successfully removed all of the trash along a quarter mile stretch at Tunnel View.
Other special projects included removing old culverts from Lower Rivers Campground in Yosemite Valley, cleaning up at the base of popular rock climbing routes throughout the park, assisting in removing invasive plants throughout the park, and removing old telephone wires in Yosemite Valley.