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Stash That Trash!

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Published on: May. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

On a gorgeous day in May, you're floating a sparkling Missouri stream, fishing for smallmouth bass, enjoying the wildlife you see and just generally enjoying yourself. Amid the excitement, you get thirsty and pull a soda from your cooler.

If you rented your canoe from one of the float outfitters that participate in the Stash Your Trash! program, you were probably given a red mesh trash bag.This is the perfect place to put your empty drink containers, and for collecting trash that others have thoughtlessly left behind.

The Missouri Department of Conservation recently began the No MOre Trash! program to help reduce the amount of litter in the state. While the No MOre Trash! program addresses littering in general, Stash Your Trash specifically targets trash on Missouri's streams. It is administered through the Conservation Department's Missouri stream unit and the Stream Team Program.

Long before Stash Your Trash began, a few liveries were providing plastic bags to floaters. In the early 1980s, float outfitters Gene Maggard and Gary Smith, concession specialist Dean Einwalter from the U.S. National Park Service, and two representatives from Anheuser-Busch, Inc., met in Ironton to discuss organizing a stream anti-littering program. Anheuser-Busch donated $5, 000 to start the project.

In 1986, The National Park Service, Anheuser-Busch and the float outfitters on the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers launched Operation Clean Stream, a pilot project to reduce stream litter on a 20-mile section of the Current River, from Akers Ferry to Round Spring. Every canoe livery in the pilot area provided a free, orange nylon mesh trash sack to every rented canoe. During the pilot project, 18 tons of trash was collected, including 1, 100 pounds of aluminum. The aluminum cans were collected from bins and sold by the Three Rivers Handicap Sheltered Workshop in Eminence.

John Hoskins, director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, was the Ozark Region Protection Supervisor at that time. He proposed that the Department of Conservation implement the program on the North Fork, Eleven Point, Big Piney, Black, Gasconade and other rivers. Hoskins believed that expanding the program would produce cleaner streams. He believed it would increase public awareness about the need for litter control.

"People go out on the river with the best intentions, " Hoskins said. "They don't want to hurt anything, but they're not prepared. They'll go all day collecting their trash carefully, not throwing anything into the river. But

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