Sunday, September 27, 2020


Year 2020 as been an abnormal year for many things and recreational activity on our public lands has been one of those abnormalities. The result is an overwhelming amount of trash has been left behind on the lands we value so much.

As Americans, we enjoy the freedom to recreate as we wish on our public land but it must be done with a standard of ethics and stewardship in our hearts. Every visit to nature must include the ethical virtues of fairness, integrity, responsibility, and respect. We also must adhere to the values of stewardship as we share in the careful and responsible management of our great outdoors.

Public land needs your stewardship and ethics now. And what a better time to do it than on National Public Lands Day! National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 26th, is the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. Since 1944, it is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. This celebration brings out thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands around the country.

So pack a lunch, trash bags, and your volunteer spirit. Check the area you wish to go and be sure it is still accessible due to the recent windstorm and wildfires. Plan on being the steward our land needs you to be, this Saturday, Sept 26th.

Take photos and tell us about your Public Lands Day 2020. Email to





Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Cowlitz County shooting site gets a random cleanup.

James, A long time user, and consistent steward of an old gravel pit in Southern Cowlitz County, put out a call for help, on the NorthwestFirearms website forum, to clean up his favorite place to shoot.  He reported trash had built up recently and has now become too much for one person to maintain.

Abandoned cars previously reported and DNR removed.
He provided photos and described recent events that included two abandoned cars, a large bon fire area that is filled with thousands of construction nails and metal plates, and the remaining spring of a burnt  mattress.


"The spot I go is unfortunately a dispersed motorcycle riding area and a party on weekends spot", James posted.  "The problems are all three groups using it are trashing it.  The worst is the party people.

Nails and metal fills the burn pile in center of parking area
They burn furniture and pallets and have huge bonfires right where a shooter would park a vehicle.  The amount of nails is in the millions now. Impossible to clean up all of it.  So now we park a ways away and walk over to our shooting position.

The shooters leave hundreds of shotgun shells and boxes.  I've raked up the shotgun shells a few times but it's like picking up garbage on a beach.  It just floats in again later.  This year was the worst for burning furniture.  It seems everyone thinks after they burn their couch or tires it's all gone.  Well it's not.  There's springs and thousands of nails and a framework left over."

Mattress spring left over from a burn.

I volunteered to help him out so we set a short date for Saturday, Sept 5th.  Several others wanted to join in but scheduling wouldn't allow it, so, only James and I was there.

One person was already there when I arrived at 8:45 AM and he was target shooting. I tactfully mentioned there is a temporary ban on shooting in all DNR managed state lands. He was a bit surprised but respectfully stopped shooting and picked up his trash bag to help.  (There were no 'Closure' signs posted at this site nor any along the way to the site.)  We enjoyed each other's company and had some good conversations. He had to leave within an hour but I sure enjoyed meeting him and hope to do so again.
James arrived and it was just he and me for the rest of the morning. We had hoped for others to join but being the holiday weekend and this being a spur of the moment get together, we understood there may not be any more help.
Bill & Penny enjoying a different kind of recreation.
But we did pretty good! There is still some work to be done and most of it will be tackling the thousands and thousands of nails from in and around that burn pile! We encourage anyone who can help with that to contact us and develop a plan of action.
During this temporary ban on target shooting, this is the best time to go clean up your favorite shooting site. You will still need a Discover Pass, when on WA State lands, and you always need your Fire Prevention Equipment, so go prepared. You will be surprised at the difference you can make in just a half day!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Where have all the shooters gone?

On Saturday, August 15th, 2020, target shooting was temporarily closed in all Washington State managed Forests, due to potential fire hazardous conditions.  One week later I visit the Yacolt Burn State Forest and I wonder...  Where have all the shooters gone?

When target shooting is open, there are lots of people out enjoying the great outdoors and recreating in the shooting sports.  But when it's closed, shooters disappear.  Why?  Why not be out in the woods and pick up a different kind of recreation?

I mean the kind of recreation that shows our respect for recreational shooting on public lands.  It's called 'Maintenance'.  Clean up your local forest and show some responsibility for being a property owner who has a stake in our public land playgrounds.

When it's closed, it's payback time!  This is a perfect time and opportunity to go out and show some good old fashion stewardship.  Your presents is needed in our forests throughout the Northwest!  Don't disappear now!

Honestly, we look pretty bad.  The volume of trash in the forest is mostly at sites where target shooting happens.  This should not be so!  Sure, some of it is dumping, but when it's full of bullet holes, it reeks of irresponsible target shooting.  Even if you didn't bring it, you sign our name to it when you shoot it.

With the recent increase in firearms sales, there are a lot more people in the woods learning how their new tools work and becoming more proficient in the shooting sports.  For many, this is their first time owning a firearm and their first time shooting in the woods.  Many of them are unaware of the rules for target practice.  It also seems that they must think; 'There are people who clean it up', so they leave it all behind.  WRONG!  Each person who recreates in the forest is responsible for removing their own trash and is also responsible for knowing the rules for their kind of recreation.

This was my 6 hours of recreation today.  No fun when you go out to enjoy a day off in the woods and see the volume of trash.  I couldn't just pass by and pretend I didn't see it.  And all that time, going from shooting site to shooting site, I didn't see one other person doing anything about it.  Where did you all go?

Not a good place to shoot!  Trails & roads beyond.  You cannot be sure a bullet won't skip over the backstop!  NO ROUNDS LEAVE THE RANGE!  I removed it, hoping to remove the temptation.

A popular place, but so much trash?  Really?


Lots of CD's!  Someone must hate working from home!

I'm not happy with you shooting my Merle Haggard!  You're walkin on the fightin side of me!!!

It didn't take long for one person to put it back to presentable condition.


Arrow Head Pit.  A dumped couch.  The closure sign is on the opposite side of the pit, where no one looks!  Some shooters are still shooting there, not realizing that shooting is temporarily closed!

This really reflects badly on recreational shooters!  It's along one of the main roads leading in to the forest.  No wonder why other forest users point the finger of shame at shooters!

Poor guys!  They went to a lot of trouble setting up a rather involved target arrangement, just to have me come along and break the bad news!  Sorry guys!

Magnificent view to the Southwest.  Portland city and coastal range in the distance.

We've got to clean up our act, if we are to keep recreational sport shooting open on public lands.  Show some respect for the shooting sports, for the forest and for other forest visitors, by doing your part to give back for the good of recreation.

Commit Random Acts Of Cleanups!!!


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Information and Surprises handed out in the Capitol State Forest. Aug 15, 2020.

Five volunteers from Trash No Land and website forum, joined in on a random grassroots effort to help improve the recreational shooting sports at the Triangle Pit in the Capitol State Forest, Saturday, August 15th.

Our plan was to talk with target shooters, as they were on their way to target practice, and hand out information about shooting on public lands.  It was to be a hot day and we expected this gravel pit to be very busy.

We were all set up and ready for the 9 AM opening of the pit, when a Forester drove up with a sign in hand.  "You're not going like this", he said.  He showed me the sign that said "Shooting temporarily prohibited due to fire danger".  It was like pulling the trigger on a fire extinguisher trying to put out our flame!  But it didn't work.  We stuck to our guns. (Yes, pun intended!)

We decided to stay because people may come to shoot and be just as surprised as we were.  So we moved up next to the road and prepared for some disappointed faces.

As it turned out, we had a busy morning of visiting one-on-one with many shooters.  We handed out the DNR rules (WAC laws) for public land shooting, Trash No Land information flyers, WaGuns cards and offered a hot cup of coffee.  Many recreational target shooters heard our message of being responsible, cleaning up and helping save good places to shoot.


Perhaps the most fun, and most informative, part of the day was a visit with DNR Police officer J. Bodine.  He shared his experiences of everyday life as an enforcement officer and his love for the Capitol Forest since childhood.  I can see he is a real asset to WA DNR and also to the sport shooting community.



Our message got delivered after all.  Many shooters are now better informed and we hope they will help spread the message of responsible recreation.  Thank you to all who helped, shared and listened.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Stewardship happenings weekend of Aug 7-9, 2020

I am aware of 3 small cleanup efforts that happened this weekend. I was part of one in Central Oregon, Trash No Land Board member Gary Jacka demonstrated stewardship to his boys in SW Washington, and board members Craig & Tracy Yon had a great experience on BLM land near the Santiam State Forest, Oregon.


Shellburg Falls, BLM land in Oregon

A target shooting couple set out to visit and clean up the Shellburg Falls area, by Mehama OR, on Saturday Aug 8, 2020 and were joined by a Bow Shooter and some Jeepers who made an unexpected turn around! Here's the story from Trash No Land board members Craig and Tracy Yon of Albany, OR...

"We spent most of the morning in the Shellburg Falls area out by Mehama cleaning up shooting areas. Mainly BLM land that borders the Santiam State Forest.

  It was a great morning in the woods. Some wildlife, people practicing archery, a couple Jeeps 4wheeling along with some mountain bikers.

Picked up the first landing, which by some standards wasn't horrible. 2nd landing was a lot worse. The gentleman practicing with his bow stopped to help. Filled a few big bags. Great guy.

About that time the Jeep people came by and asked if we had seen the lower road. We said that we were warned about a transient camp and avoid it. He said they were gone but there was about 15 big trash bags left. We said we would head done there next.

For a few minutes I thought they took off after they told us about it. But they showed up and helped load everything. Talked with them a bit about Trash No Land and other subjects. Really would like to commend them for coming back. They were leaving but came back to help because he really liked what we were doing and thought it was neat pulling the trailer. He said he is going to start doing the same in places.

 With the cleaning done and trailer full we decided to find the falls which we failed to do the first time. Got lucky and the gate was open. 2.5 miles down a logging road and a 1/2 mile hike and we found the falls. 

Also want to Thank the Bureau of Land management for being able to dump in their dumpsters at a campground and the 2 big boxes of trash bags."

Craig and Tracy had pre-arranged with BLM to use the dumpsters at the campground, which the BLM had previously extended the invitation to them. Thank you BLM Oregon! And thank you, Craig & Tracy, the Bow shooter and the Jeepers!



Father teaches sons about stewardship.

This weekend, in the Yacolt Burn State Forest, WA, a Trash No Land Board member did this...

"I took some family shooting up in the Burn this morning. Picked up a few bags of junk when we were done. Was a pretty busy day up there. Also had the new forest warden drop by making sure we were legal."

Sorry, no pics on this one. Just another report of a shooter stepping up to demonstrate stewardship and teach his kids about being responsible in our great outdoors.

Thank you Gary Jacka of Vancouver, WA! Good to hear of you teaching the next generation how to be responsible! Nice work!


Central Oregon, Deschutes National Forest.

Half way between Bend and La Pine was the scene of another Random Act Of Cleanup this weekend, by five guys on a mission!  Here's the story, written by Yours Truly:

"We cleaned up 2 target shooting sites in the forest.

It's surprising how much of a difference a few people can make in just a couple of hours. We spent a casual 2 hours and got a full pickup bed from two sites. During that time, we made new friends, contacts and lasting memories.

With such a little effort and cost, we had a lot of fun, as you'll see in the pics."

"If we had divided up the cost of disposal, it would have only cost $ 2.80 each! At that rate, and all the other benefits of a Random Act of Cleanup, why not do this more often? A lot more often!!!"


Show your stewardship efforts!

Send me pics and a story of your Random Act Of Cleanup!  I would love to share them as encouragement to others to do the same in their favorite public lands.  I also let the forest agency know about individuals cleaning up shooting sites.

Be safe, have fun and Trash No Land!

Bill Cogley

CEO/President Trash No Land