By Tom Spencer

On Tuesday, July 19, I traveled 62.3 miles in 8.25 hours, and I walked all 22 sites assigned to the stewardMRV team. I was thrilled with the results, and I must send out a huge thank you to all of you. Most of the sites were totally spotless. My curiosity was to see “how little” garbage that I would have to pick up at all 22 sites, combined.  


In the past we measured “how much” garbage we removed. Perhaps it’s time for a change of philosophy and unit of measure to “how little”.

When I set out on this mission, I hoped that I would have less than a single kitchen-sized garbage bag. I am thrilled to report that we did it. I only filled tw- thirds of a single garbage bag, found two larger miscellaneous items, and recovered numerous sets of shoes and clothing which have all been cleaned and repurposed!  Please see attached picture.

I believe that moving forward we might need to celebrate our success and change our unit of measure from “how much” to “how little” garbage we carry out. This is proof that the system works, if people find it clean then they leave it clean. Please do not get frustrated if you are showing up at your location and there isn’t anything to pick up. You are NOT wasting your time. This is proof that your efforts have paid off, keep it up!

One of the reasons that the stewardMRV program was established was due to community members visiting our more popular sites and being “embarrassed” by how much garbage there was at our beautiful sites. It was during COVID, and we faced many challenges in correcting this trend. Thus, the birth of stewardMRV. Thank you so much for being part of the solution. Collectively, we are truly creating an ethos of stewardship in the Mad River Valley.