The ‘Grounds Keepers’ program seeks 25 individuals to clean trash along major section hikes and popular public areas in 2018.
If the Packing It Out initiative has taught us anything, it’s that America has dirty trails. Launched in 2015, two hikers dedicated themselves to cleaning the length of the Appalachian Trail, then the Pacific Crest Trail the next year. They called themselves Packing it Out because that’s what they did – packed out trash, and a lot of it.
Fast forward two years and Granite Gear, one of Packing it Out’s main sponsors, created Grounds Keepers. During 2017, Granite Gear sponsored thru-hikers to continue the Packing it Out philosophy of “leave it better.”
More than 1,000 pounds of trash were removed from major section hikes in the U.S. as part of the 2017 Grounds Keepers. The brand wants to continue the trash-cleaning effort in 2018, with some small changes to the program.
For 2018, Granite Gear aims to incorporate more diversity. The 2018 team will strive to represent all outdoor enthusiasts, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
“It’s about respect – for our planet and for one another. Our passions lie in protecting and cleaning up our public lands and promoting diversity and inclusion in the great outdoors,” said Rob Coughlin, VP of Sales and Marketing.
2018 Grounds Keepers: Deadline Soon
If you want to sign up, act quickly! The application period to the 2018 Grounds Keepers closes Dec. 15. The team will be announced in late January.
Those chosen as Grounds Keepers will receive a backpack, a packing system kit, a few garbage-picking tools, and social media glory.
While the 2017 program was focused on long trails, the 2018 Grounds Keepers have the option to choose shorter trails. The goal should cover 300 miles of public lands trails.
Granite Gear hopes this will make a larger impact on popular local trails and in community parks.
The Grounds Keepers roster will also expand to include 25 individuals. The application document is linked here.
While the application closes in a brief two days, the contents of the app are straightforward.
Applicants must list their experience, motivation, and character. Then, applicants must send in a short video describing the best adventure they’ve had in the outdoors.
We strongly advocate for the Packing it Out ethos of “leave it better” in addition to Leave No Trace. Making outdoor spaces cleaner and more enjoyable because of it is a respectable and challenging undertaking.
If you are someone who intends on doing some major hiking in 2018, it will do the trails well to apply and pick up some trash along the way.