December 5, 2022


Born to perform

Want to help clean up public trails? OnX has ideas to help you get started

3 min read


You would think that anyone who looks hitting their local trails would also like to keep those trails clean. That’s not always the case though, and seeing garbage on a trail is a sadly familiar sight. But there are plenty of groups out there that push the idea and action of trail clean-ups. Maybe you want to organize one of your own? OnX has created a great guide to help you plan one.

The first thing you need to consider is the big picture of a clean-up event. The OnX guide breaks this down for you into some easy to process bullet points:

  • Who is your target audience? ( Off-roaders, adventurers, families?)
  • What is the ideal attendance number? Max attendance number?
  • How will I promote the cleanup?
  • Where should I host a cleanup?
  • Is a permit needed?
  • Is the goal to clean up small items (bottles, cans, bags), big items (old cars, appliances, wood pieces), or both?
  • How will we dispose of the trash after the cleanup?
  • What budget do I need?
  • What supplies do I need?

Once you start to narrow down the focus of your clean-up event, you can then figure out a time and place. You need to see if there are any permits required to run this event. And it’s quite important to figure out exactly where you’re going to bring all this trash that you collect. There’s also the smart idea of having liability waivers for such an event just to manage any risk you may be undertaking under your own name.

After you’ve figured out the logistics, any costs you need to spend upfront, and the time and place, it’s time to promote this thing. Social media can help stuff like this spread quickly, but so can local media as well. People get tired of all the bad stories, so a good story like this is an easy win for anyone and everyone involved. Local off-road clubs or groups would likely also enjoy being a part of something positive such as a trail clean-up.

Once your event day has arrived, it’s smart to have a proper chain of command for role delegation, questions, or any issues that might arise. You’d be smart to establish a basecamp space that has shade, water, and possibly lunch and refreshments. And then after it’s all done, promote it all again. This time talk about the good that was done. Not to brag but to inspire others to do the same or join in on the next one.

One of my favorite groups doing this is the people behind the Gambler events. Through the Sons of Smokey team, and with the help of OnX for waypoint and trail information, they organize amazing clean-up events.

If you want to organize one of your own, I’ve included a link to this great PDF file from OnX to help you get started:


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