Leave it better. For the Granite Gear Grounds Keeper team of 31, this year was all about that mission. Despite the challenges this year brought, the 4th generation of Grounds Keepers pressed on in their goal to pick up trash. Alongside sponsors Klean Kanteen, Big Agnes, Kula Cloth, Astral, Food for the Sole, Recover Brand, UCO, and Public Lands Coffee, Granite Gear supported 31 hikers and paddlers who committed to cleaning up the nations wild places in 2020.

The team has removed over 6,189.11 pounds of trash from our trails, parks and waterways. Since 2017, Grounds Keeper members have removed over 16,600 pounds (and counting) of trash from our public lands. Legacy Grounds Keeper Alex Wehrle set a lofty goal for herself to pick up 2,020 pounds of trash in 2020 and, as of this week, she completed that goal. Alex primarily cleaned up areas around San Diego, CA. To stay safe during the pandemic, she consistently used a mask, reusable gloves and a trash grabber.

“A goal to clean up 2,020 lbs of trash in 2020, what a journey,” said Wehrle. “Trail clean-ups led to neighborhood dog walk clean-ups which led to overpopulated trails and beach clean-ups – for 85 cleanups in total. Mask, gloves on, trash grabber in hand; I spent most of the year cleaning up a beach in much need of some love. With little regulation and opportunity for reaching the beach by vehicle, I came across some of the weirdest trash treasures… one being a church pew, found on an eerie foggy morning. Although this goal is reached, the journey is just beginning! You’ll always find me with a trash bag in hand helping leave our outdoor spaces better,” she continued.

General Manager, Rob Coughlin, said, “Picking up 2,020 lbs of trash in a year is an incredible feat. Alex accomplishing this in 2020 while navigating a global pandemic, fires and the rest of the insanity out there is downright awe-inspiring. I’m so grateful to call her a friend. I salute Alex and all the Grounds Keepers of 2020!”

In 2020, Granite Gear introduced the Grounds Keepers “Legacy Team” including ten previous year’s Grounds Keepers alongside twenty new team members: Seth Orme, Paul Twedt, Britany Freeman, Alex Wehrle, Andrew Forestell, Sunshine State Seekers, Jen Theisen, Steven Snyder, Julie Hukriede, Leland Kolson, Jenny Bruso, Jen Potts, Ari Leach, Cat Curtis, Ben Vaughan, Danny Murphy, Daniel White, Paul Kautz, Sarah Wilson, Hannah Edstrom, Kelsey Semrod, Reece Thompson, Todd Lee, Ashley Bredemus, Marlee Jennings, Tyler Lau, Cliford Mervil, Suzanne Hassanein, Hatie Parmeter, and Devin Holmes. #GroundsKeeper4Life

The application for the 2021 program goes live in November. For more information go here.  

Photo courtesy Granite Gear