The Columbia River Gorge communities and agencies are asking residents, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts… “Let’s Talk Trash!”

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area — July 31st, 2020

Excessive trash and littering challenges have approached a crisis level of concern at recreation sites throughout the Columbia River Gorge. During a time when resources and staffing capacities are stretched thin, keeping up with maintenance, cleaning, and trash removal has proved problematic during record high visitations in 2020.

Public lands within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are managed by multiple jurisdictions including cities, counties, ports, and resource agencies. Those agencies are asking everyone to do their part to help keep the Gorge clean and free of litter. While visitors and community members may understand the importance of proper trash removal, more detrimental impacts are not always obvious:

  • Even small amounts of trash, waste, and litter left behind are magnified when millions of visitors do the same.
  • Trash or litter may expose other visitors to health risks.
  • Packing trash home to be sorted and recycled offers environmental benefits.
  • Dumpsters and cans have been overwhelmed by illegal dumping, including household garbage dumped at sites, reducing availability for users.

Through a partnership with “Ready, Set, GOrge!” agencies are collaborating on a public outreach campaign called “Let’s Talk Trash” to highlight current trash-related struggles, resources, tips, and ways to help to ensure prolonged protection of the Gorge, wildlife health, public safety, and the strength of its communities.

With a focus on staying local during these times, we ask community members and visitors to be kind and respectful of the Gorge and its communities, by following a few simple, easy steps:

  1. Pack out what you pack in and don’t plan to use available dumpsters or trash containers.
  2. Bring an extra bag to collect errant litter and waste.
  3. If you use available trash containers, ensure everything is completely inside. Don’t stack waste next to receptacles where the wind or wildlife can scatter it.
  4. Be kind to local rangers, community members, volunteers, and public service workers performing in very challenging times to keep people and lands healthy and safe.

Whether you live within the Gorge or visit our many special communities or recreation sites, we know you love the Gorge and we are diligently working to provide the best public services possible. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering or other resource needs, please visit our websites for further information.

Partner Groups and Organizations:

Ready, Set, Gorge! US Forest Service Army Corp of Engineering The Dalles Chamber of Commerce Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce Hood River CountyCity of Hood River Port of Hood River Washington State Parks Oregon State Parks Washington DNR Travel Oregon Gorge CommissionCity of Stevenson Trail Keepers of Oregon Visit Hood River Friends of the Gorge City of Washougal Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance

Ready, Set, GOrge! is an initiative aimed at improving the visitor experience in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area through collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Travel Oregon, Oregon Department of Transportation and the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance. ###