Cleanup event to target Umpqua Forest destinations


Lovers of the outdoors will get a chance this weekend participate in an effort to clean up and maintain the natural beauty of their local countryside.

On March 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days, volunteers are heading into the wilderness under the banner of the “TAZ Cleanup” to pick up and haul out garbage from beloved natural destinations.

The project has been organized by Phillip Miller, who hosts an outdoor travel Youtube channel called “The Adventure Zombie,” or TAZ for short.

Miller aims to raise awareness and clean up the outdoors with the event.

“I’m not in it for the publicity,” he said. “It’s not about my Youtube channel. It’s about going out there and picking up trash and doing the right thing.”

The cleanup will focus on spots in the Umpqua National Forest including Brice Creek, Bohemia Mountain, Spirit/Moon/Pinard Falls areas and other trails.

The idea for the event formed when Miller, while creating content for his channel, noticed a high amount of trash in the areas he frequented.

“It dawned on me that I had a little bit of a platform to shout from and I said, ‘Well, heck, why don’t we use this to get something positive out of it and get a cleanup going?’” he said. “I like the beautiful places that I go and I want to see them stay beautiful for everybody else that wants to come out and visit.”

The cleanup is completely funded by the Weyerhaeuser Employee Activity Club, which will be providing equipment such as bags, gloves and road vests for participants.

Since announcing the project, Miller said he’s seen an energetic response and sister cleanups will also be taking place in Washington and Montana.

Judging by online activity, Miller expects at least 100 people to show up for the event, or perhaps double that.

A high turnout is needed considering the level of litter at outdoors destinations, Miller said.

“I can’t tell you how many times you run down a trail, and there’ll be a refrigerator with a pile of garbage next to it,” he said. “I mean, you can get to places where there’s literally piles of garbage that are three feet tall. It’s disgusting.”

Participants will help pick up regular trash items during the event and larger garbage like appliances will be hauled out with vehicles.

Timber company Weyerhaeuser has agreed to handle all the garbage.

“And so we’ll be able to take it back and recycle it and stuff at the Weyerhaeuser plant,” said Miller.

Participants are asked to meet at 9 a.m. on event days at the intersection of Row River, Layng Creek and Brice Creek roads in Disston. From there, cleanup volunteers will disperse into select areas.

Miller suggests bringing offline GPS and downloaded maps to avoid getting lost.

If not able to make it to the designated locations, Miller encourages people to head out to any public lands or favorite spot and pick up however much one is able. Participants can post a picture of themselves cleaning up on any social media site with the hashtag #TAZ_Cleanup.

More information can be found in a video update on “The Adventure Zombie” Youtube channel.

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