Plymouth Volunteer Helps Keep Bass Lake Road Clean
In this throw away world, Doug Eichten likes to pick up.
In the spring, summer and fall, Eichten and his friends collect garbage along Bass Lake Road in Plymouth, cleaning up a two-mile stretch between US 169 and I-494. Last year Eichten believes they picked up 450 pounds of trash.
“It’s everywhere,” Eichten said. “People are willing to live with it now – which is such a shame.”
The retired snowbird spends five months in Minnesota and seven in Florida, where he also picks up trash in the baking sun. For Eichten, garbage collection is a passion. It’s one way he is able to do his part for the environment.
Eichten has been cleaning up other people’s messes for five years. His work on Bass Lake Road has earned him recognition in Hennepin County’s Adopt-A-Highway program with two signs on the thoroughfare saluting his efforts.
“If you want to know what’s out on the road go to any convenience store and look at the shelves,” Eichten said. “That’s what’s going to be on the highway in no time.”
In a typical week, Eichten fills up at least one bag of trash. Sometimes it’s four or five.
“Used to find a lot of Styrofoam,” Eichten said, “but that has been cut back, which is great.”
Eichten finds many kinds of trash on his daily clean-up efforts.
“This is a new issue,” Eichten said. “It’s the vaping wrappers and they are all over.”
However, for Eichten, gathering garbage isn’t just about curb appeal.
“It’s about protecting the waterways,” Eichten said. “Because it all goes into a storm sewer some place. Then into the river and out to the big water.”
Hennepin County’s Adopt-A-Highway program has over 1,000 volunteers. Each year they collect approximately 30,000 pounds of garbage.