YOSEMITE – It’s time for the ninth annual “Yosemite Facelift” event, Tuesday through Sunday, Sept. 25-30, and you’re invited to participate. This is when around 1,300 volunteers show up to collect hundreds of tons of trash and construction debris.
This annual event is organized by the Yosemite Climbing Association to help clean up the park after the busy summer season. Volunteers are needed to help pick up litter at various locations in the park, including roadways, the river corridor, on trails, near climbing routes, and in parking, camping and lodging areas. Special events and presentations honoring Yosemite’s climbing history will be held throughout the weekend.Last year’s massive post-summer clean-up netted 4,295 pounds of small trash, and 411,447 pounds (nearly 206 tons) of old asphalt and concrete. This year, organizers are hoping the crowd of volunteers will grow and make a greater positive environmental impact in the Park than ever before.
More than 95 percent of the trash collected last year was recycled. Yosemite Valley’s Merced River was cleaned in 2011 from Happy Isles to Pohono, as were dozens of miles of roadway, including along the Tioga Road, Big Oak Flat Road, Wawona Road, El Portal Road, and other roads in the Tuolumne Meadows area and Yosemite Valley.
According to NPS spokesperson Kari Cobb, the greatest offenders are tissues, toilet paper and their cardboard rolls, cigarette butts and water bottles.
Over the past eight years, Facelift volunteers have made a big difference, Cobb says, and areas that have been regularly maintained are yielding less and less small trash each subsequent year. So this time, Facelift volunteers will concentrate on some large-scale special projects throughout the week.
For those with special skills, Cobb says Yosemite needs a good tidying up in climbing areas, eliminating ropes and other climbing gear left behind. Designated crews will also clean the more popular trails and give the whole park a general spruce-up, litter-wise, before winter comes.
This is a great way to mark the arrival of fall and meet some new people. Or make it a family affair, and bring the whole crew. Get a group together from work or from church. It’s a perfect way to spend time with friends and neighbors.
If you’re interested, sign up at the booth in front of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 through Sunday, Sept. 30.
A second check-in station is at the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center, Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Crew leaders will organize work groups and hand out trash bags, gloves, and litter sticks. Trash must be returned to the booths each day by 4 p.m., to be weighed and sorted.
Special evening events are planned throughout the park to reward volunteers and coordinators for all their hard work (see schedule below). There will also be a grand finale end-of-event reception on Sunday, Sept. 30, which includes complimentary food and beverages and live music by the band Little Brother.
Volunteers also get a chance to win prizes. Everyone gets a raffle ticket for every day they volunteer, and there will be a raffle held each day at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center booth at 5 p.m.
Individuals who are unable to participate during the cleanup, but would still like to help, may make a tax deductible donation to help pay for costs associated with the cleanup effort. Donations can be made to the Yosemite Climbing Association at P.O. Box 89, Yosemite, California 95389.
Get outdoors, make new friends and help spruce up your own backyard. See you at the Yosemite Facelift!