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Over 1.8 Million Acres Cleaned!

Field Tips and FAQ

Field Tips

These suggestions are from groups who have worked on many cleanups over the years.  They may seem like common sense, but being prepared ahead of time can save you a lot of time and problems in the field.

  • Some forest trails are narrow and rutted. Always be aware of what youíre getting into and make sure you can back out if needed.  Does your vehicle have enough clearance above and below as well as on both sides?
  • When you get to a site, turn your vehicle and trailer around to point in the direction that youíll be leaving before loading. If needed, unhook your trailer and re-attach after the truck is turned around.
  • A little bit of litter can turn into a major trash pile quick. When cleaning up a site, walk around and look for additional debris in the area. Wind and animals often scatter trash.
  • Many dumpers throw stuff off the back of their vehicle while their friend drives down the road.Watch for additional trash on the way in to known sites.
  • Natural materials such as large piles of leaves and twigs can be scattered to blend in with surroundings. Make sure to remove any trash bags that held compost materials.
  • If inert materials such as concrete pieces cannot be removed, scatter them in surrounding area so they do not attract new trash.
  • When working in rivers and lakes, DO NOT REMOVE WOODY DEBRIS. Lack of natural materials can cause fish habitat problems. Before removing natural materials like log jams and fallen trees, please contact the local DNR Fish Biologist.
  • If trash appears to be on private land, do not remove it. One manís trash is another manís treasure.
  • Remove all flagging from trailheads and site when completed.
  • If a dumpster is available for disposal and you are using heavy-duty bags, feel free to dump the loose trash into the dumpster and re-use the bags.
  • If the trash site was from dumpsite database, report site as being cleaned so it can be removed from the list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to ďadoptĒ a portion of land, or can I work in a different area each time?
You are not required to adopt a specific portion of land. We maintain lists and maps of known trash sites if you havenít already identified a site and would like to move around each time.

How much time must I commit if I decide to adopt a portion of public land?
We ask that you monitor your area at least two times a year (usually in the spring and fall). Areas usually consist of one major cleanup in the beginning and monitoring with minor litter control from then on.

Can my group just gather the trash and leave it one place for removal by your program?
The Adopt-a-Forest program does not have a fleet of trucks or paid staff available to remove piles. If the trash site is large enough, dumpsters may be ordered and dropped off on-site and picked up soon after cleanup. Do not leave unattended dumpsters for extended periods, or they will attract more trash. If the piles are not large enough to warrant a dumpster, you may be able to partner with local groups who have access to pickup trucks and/or trailers and are willing to transport the trash to a local landfill or transfer station. The Adopt-a-Forest program maintains a database of volunteers. If you need assistance in finding partners, feel free to contact us.

Can we use ORVs in non-ORV areas to assist with cleanups?
Volunteers must follow all laws, regulations and special conditions for the area they are working in.  If exemptions are made and ORV use is evident in an area, enforcement of unauthorized use becomes very difficult. In addition, most illegally disposed trash is dumped using vehicles licensed for road use; therefore, cleanup of trash using only road-licensed vehicles should suffice.

Can I get reimbursed for my time, gas, gloves, etc.?
The limited funding available can only be used for trash disposal fees.  Tax laws do allow for gas and out-of-pocket expense deductions for volunteer projects such as these. Check with your tax-preparer for additional information.

What if I find evidence of dumping (like an address) in the trash?If possible, take a photo of the pile before you start cleanup.; Proof of dumping will likely be in the form of an address on a magazine or discarded mail. Send the proof of dumping and photo with your progress report after project completion. If the item is too large to mail, make a note in the comments area of your progress report and save the item for later follow-up. The local authorities will be contacted with evidence of dumping. Keep in mind that license plate registration information is purged by the Secretary of State after 30 months of non-renewal. For abandoned vehicles, title identification numbers (VINs) are maintained for only 10 years. If dumping appears to be recent and proof of offender is very obvious, you may wish to leave the pile in place and call the DNR RAP Hotline at 1-800-292-7800.

What if I witness dumping in progress?
Do NOT approach them! Your safety is first priority. If possible, get a vehicle and driver description and license plate number along with a description of the trash. Contact your local law enforcement or call the DNR RAP Hotline at: 1-800-292-7800 or your local law enforcement agency.

Are there funds available to advertise cleanups?
No. However, the we maintain a volunteer website that we would be happy to advertise your cleanup on. In addition, if you create a flyer announcing the event, we are able to send the information to known volunteers in your specific

What if I donít want to donate my time, but would like to help in some other way?

There are other ways to assist:

  • Make a tax-deductible donation
  • Donate tools, food, or large equipment to volunteer groups working in your area.
  • Encourage local officials to make legal disposal readily available in your community.

Contact Ada Takacs at 1-231-534-5569

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