Twin Falls Elks Lodge honored for highway cleanup
When someone changes neighborhoods, old relationships usually fall by the wayside. That wasnt the case when the Snake River Elks Lodge No. 2807 in Twin Falls relocated in 2001.
Members were so committed to keeping a segment of U.S. 93 free of debris and litter, they elected to continue participating in the Idaho Transportation Departments Adopt-A-Highway program. They merely picked a stretch closer to their new lodge.
For the past two years they have been cleaning a two-mile segment of the highway between Twin Falls and Shoshone (milepost 60-62).
The Idaho Transportation Board acknowledged those efforts Tuesday by presenting Elks leaders with the District 4 Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) group of the year award. Lodge representatives received a plaque and a clock made from a simulated Idaho license plate.
The presentation came during the boards monthly meeting in Twin Falls.
Lodge members have been involved in the highway cleanup campaign since the early 1990s.
I have appreciated working with Stan (Novacek) and the Elks group, said Shawn Webb, ITDs Adopt-A-Highway coordinator for District 4 (south-central Idaho). They can always be counted on to clean their section at least twice a year...
Participants usually turn the work day into a social gathering, beginning with coffee and doughnuts at the Lodge on a Saturday morning. Even members who are physically unable to pick up refuse assist the effort by driving support vehicles, carrying extra bags and providing refreshments.
Lodge members arent too pretentious about their efforts to keep Idahos highway clean. The volumes of material they have collected havent contained many unique treasures only such things as automotive parts that escape from vehicles driving along U.S. 93, or surplus parts that have been tossed aside by unappreciative motorists. Bottles, cans and paper trash are among the most common roadside castaways. Less frequently, cleanup crews come across truck tires or other large items.
Novacek, who coordinates the semiannual Adopt-A-Highway effort for the Elks Lodge, reported that items inadequately secured on recreational vehicles especially covers from roof-mounted air conditioners occasionally make their way to the side of the highway.
The Adopt-A-Highway program organizes the cleaning of Idaho roadsides by volunteer groups. Those groups adopt a specific stretch of highway usually two miles long and take responsibility for keeping it clean through regular litter patrols.
More than 1,200 groups spent approximately 114,000 person hours removing litter in 2003. About 55 percent of state highways have been adopted, leaving ample opportunities for other groups and individuals to become involved.
The volume of material collected from the shoulders of Idaho highways more than doubled the past year, largely because of better monitoring and reporting, said statewide AAH coordinator Sherie Sweaney.
Volunteers collected more than 2.3 million pounds of litter, resulting in a savings to the state of nearly a quarter-million dollars that can be applied to other projects that improve safety and driving conditions.
For information about adopting a stretch of highway, contact Sweaney at 334-8465 or (800) 443-2878.