When was the last time you drove to Nye, Reed Point, Absarokee, Park City, Columbus, Rapelje or Molt and what do these communities have in common besides all being located in Stillwater County?
They are all communities where Stillwater County has Solid Waste Collection Sites. What else do they all have in common?
All you have to do is drive Highway 10 east to Park City and west to the Solid Waste Transfer Station, Highway 306 north to Rapelje, Highway 78 south to Absarokee, Highway 419 to the mine, Valley View Road in Reed Point and Buffalo Trail to Molt and you will see the similarities — garbage along the roads and in the ditches.
Granted, not all the garbage in the ditches can be blamed on those citizens going to the collection sites. A lot of that garbage can be blamed on those who are irresponsible and decide to roll down the window and toss their garbage out with a, “someone else will pick it up” attitude.
Montana has a law — MCA 61-8-370. Securing of load — requirement. A person operating a loaded vehicle on a public highway for the purpose of transporting solid waste as defined in 75-10-203, except a commercial motor vehicle or a vehicle transporting unprocessed agricultural products, shall attach, cover, or otherwise secure the load sufficiently to prevent littering or creating an obstruction dangerous to the public traveling on the highway.
So why is there garbage in the ditches and along the roads? Why do some people travel to the Solid Waste Sites with loose garbage, garbage bags, garbage cans without lids, garbage piled so high in the box of their pick-up or trailer that there is no way the driver will make the collection site without something falling out? When it does, some will just ignore it and let somebody else pick it up thinking nobody will know that’s my garbage.
Then, there are those conscientious citizens who will secure their loads every trip to the collection site and those who will stop and pick up garbage that has blown out of somebody else’s vehicle on their way to the collection site. Thank you to those folks.
How many calls would the Stillwater County Commissioners get if the solid waste roll-off boxes were not covered and the boxes were losing garbage while they were being transported? So, what’s the difference? We are the county and we are to know the laws? It’s not about the law. It’s about pride in Stillwater County. It’s about responsibility. My responsibility and your responsibility.
It’s about taking the responsibility to secure your load. It’s about stopping and picking up that garbage bag, branch, mattress or whatever blew out of your vehicle. It’s about people not having to look at the garbage in the ditches and volunteers not having to spend so much time cleaning them.
Please be responsible when hauling your garbage. Take the extra time to be sure that when you show up at the collection site all the garbage bags, mattresses, construction debris, branches, clothing and TVs that you left home with are still in your vehicle.
Stillwater County is a beautiful place to live. Many tourists travel through our county to camp, hike, fish, etc. Let’s show these tourists that we, the residents of Stillwater County, take pride in how clean our highways and byways are.
The volunteers that clean ditches do a great job. Let’s do our part to make their job easier and show them how much they are appreciated.
The Stillwater County Solid Waste Collection Sites will have nets to secure loads available for purchase. Ask the site attendant on duty for the size and price of the nets.