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Applications Are Open! Help Grounds Keepers Make Public Lands Trash-Free in 2023

musser family doing work with Grounds KeepersKaitlin Musser with her daughter Buckets and son Monkey (trail names) after picking up trash for the Grounds Keepers program; (photo/Kaitlin Musser)
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The Granite Gear Grounds Keepers pack thousands of pounds of garbage out of the wilderness every year. Applications to become a part of the team are officially open for 2023.

Keeping our wild areas pristine and trash-free should be a priority for everyone who enjoys getting outside. But it isn’t — people still litter. That’s apparent in almost any State or National Park, monument, scenic area, or roadside trail you visit. And unless someone picks up after them, litter bugs’ trash stays out there for years, decades, possibly even centuries.

That’s where the Granite Gear Grounds Keepers come in. This nonprofit group of outdoor enthusiasts has a mission: to pack as much trash out of the wilderness as possible. They work on trails in forests, on mountains, along rivers, at lakes, and anywhere else there might be garbage on public land.

Since their creation in 2017, the Groundskeepers have removed 35,025 pounds of garbage from trails and parks. In 2022 alone, they removed 10,335 pounds of trash from 300+ miles of public land.

Now they need help. This year the Granite Gear Groundskeepers are seeking to add 10 more volunteers to their ranks. And applications are open! 

Apply Today: Become a Granite Gear Grounds Keeper

packing it out with groun
Packing It Out with Grounds Keepers crew, 2017

“Every Grounds Keeper has previously completed a thru-hike or various sections of hikes and paddling trips, has a passion for Leave No Trace ethics, is strong in mind and body, and is committed to doing their very best to pick up as much trash as possible while outdoors.” reads the Grounds Keepers website. “We hope that this program inspires others to value our outdoor areas and pack out trash as they enjoy the great outdoors.”

The Granite Gear Grounds Keepers are partnering with brands including Appalachian Gear Company, Jetboil, Kula Cloth, Sawyer, Farm to Summit, UCO Gear, Katabatic Gear, Lava Linens, Hibear, and Hikers Brew for 2023.

But sponsors are only part of Granite Gear’s solution. In order to effectively pack out another 10,000 pounds of garbage this year, the Grounds Keepers need more hands on deck. The 25 volunteers from 2022 did an excellent job. But for 2023, they need more help.

Applications are currently open but close on December 15, 2022. So if you want to throw your hat into the ring, and give back to the outdoors by removing trash from them, apply here today.

And if you don’t get accepted? You can still do your part. If you really want to be a Grounds Keeper, all you have to do is start picking up trash you see in nature. There’s no gatekeeping among Grounds Keepers. So, if you want to help, all you really have to do is start.

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