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Stash That Trash!

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Published on: May. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

if their canoe turns over, out goes all the trash. They can't get it back."

Hoskins said today's canoeists seem to be more conservation-minded than in the past.

"The Stash Your Trash bags help a great number of considerate people enjoy a day on the river without leaving anything harmful behind, " he said.

In 1987, the Conservation Commission approved a pilot anti-littering program on the Meramec River, Huzzah Creek, Courtois Creek, and Gasconade River. This program was tied to the Conservation Department's 50th Anniversary and ran from April 1 through Labor Day.

In 1997, the Missouri Stream Team Program began buying the bags to give to Stream Teams for their litter pickups. In 1999, the Stream Team Program was given full administrative responsibility for the Stash Your Trash program and its characteristic red mesh bags. It was a perfect fit. They provided the bags to float outfitters who, in turn, encouraged canoeists to use them. Rather than being dumped into streams, trash found its way into bins at takeout points. Much of it was recycled.

Bob Burns operates the Niangua River Oasis near Lebanon. During some of the early clean-ups on the Niangua, Burns said participants brought in tires and even a soda pop machine. Thanks to conscientious floaters, the river is in much better shape now than it was, but Burns said there's still plenty of room for improvement.

"Most of what we see now are cans and coolers, the kind of thing that folks have in their canoes with them, " Burns said.

"Stash Your Trash is a wonderful program, " he said. "Each Saturday we pick up two to three pickup loads of trash that the floaters have picked up along the way. That's between 100 and 150 pick-up loads of trash each year that would otherwise end up in the Niangua River."

Having the bags aboard seems to encourage floaters to look for litter to fill them. Delores Swoboda, operator of Devil's Back Floats on the Bourbeuse River said, "Not only are floaters picking up their own trash, they are picking up trash others have left behind."

Gene Maggard operates the Jacks Fork, Akers Ferry, Round Spring, and Wild River canoe rentals on the Jacks Fork and Current rivers. He said floaters collect tons of trash from these famous rivers every year.

"We've seen everything, " Maggard said, "from tires to steel traps to false

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