“Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photos,” these are two major sentiments of Love Our Trails, an organisation aimed at preening and preserving our country’s beautiful walking and hiking trails. Last week we heard volunteer Sasha Fairhead’s recount of the recent Lion’s Head Cleanup, today we get another angle on the story from Love Our Trails founder Blake Dyason.
Love Our Trails hosts regular clean ups on different trails, bringing like minded trail users together to give back to our mountains. We’ve learnt that the best way to change behaviour is to lead by example and make tasks at hand fun and sexy. Once people have taken part and had a good experience, they take ownership and naturally adopt a roll of educating others.
With well over 50 volunteers joining the recent Lion’s Head cleanup held on 25 February, we collected over 60 bags of litter and spent close on 6 hours cleaning graffiti off the rocks.
After a fun day of trail blazing and toiling, we’re happy to announce that the Lions Head trail was officially the cleanest it’s been in our four years of hosting clean ups. This was a humble reminder how powerful community involvement is in initiatives like this. Following this success, our new challenge is to tackle the amount of litter dumped from cars or picnics along the side of the road.
We will continue hosting clean ups, talks and using social media to educate trail uses so that eventually our trails can be litter free and returned to their natural beauty.
We believe that once you have seen litter and picked it up you can’t un-see it.
Looking ahead, we’d love to help others host clean ups on their local trails to spread this awareness through trail users across South Africa aware and slowly encourage caring trail culture.
These events are only possible because of the incredible support and team work from our volunteers and of course our partners – SANParks, Friends of Lions Head and Signal Hill, Tuffy bags who sponsor the gloves and bags and K-Way who fund the cleaning equipment and expenses. Thank you to everyone involved and see you at the next cleanup!
Don’t miss out on our next volunteering opportunity in your area; check out what’s coming up and get involved!