Sequim residents fight litter, too

The Clallam County sheriff isn't the only one who is trying to do something about littering along the area's roadways.

Pat Clark, who lives on Falcon Road, is one of a number of volunteers who spend a couple of hours a week picking up what others have left behind in the bypass area.

He said at the May 12 city council meeting that he and his neighbors have removed 31 bags of garbage from alongside U.S. Highway 101 in just six weeks.

Clark said he was motivated to begin picking up trash by a Sequim Gazette cartoon.

"It showed the bypass just covered with litter, and the caption was, 'Whose responsibility is it?'

"I decided, 'It's my responsibility.' So I went to the city and asked for plastic bags," he said.

The first day he picked up 11 bags of trash from the west end of the bypass.

"People honked and waved as they went by. I think I saw just about everybody I know," Clark said.

He's been out a half dozen times in the past eight weeks. He can collect about two to three bags in an hour.

After his solitary foray

into litter pickup, Clark joined the city's volunteer litter pickup crew that works along an "adopted" section of U.S. Highway 101 and leaves the full trash bags for state Department of Transportation workers to pick up.

The coordinator is assistant city clerk Bobby Usselman.

"She makes sure we have signs and vests and are doing it safely. There's four or five folks who regularly volunteer. It's great exercise and it really helps to clean up the place," Clark said.

Clark said one person throws one can of the same brand of beer in the same spot on the River Road bypass over and over.

"I must have picked up 25 cans," he said.

Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Krista Hedstrom said the troopers main issue with this recent warm weather is people throwing lit cigarettes out the window along the highway.

"That's the big thing for us right now. State law says the fine is $1,025," she said.

The fine for other littering is $103 for anything less than

1 cubic foot. For anything greater than 1 cubic foot,

it becomes a mandatory criminal charge, Hedstrom said.

The problem is catching the culprits.

"The trooper has to stop somebody because it's just an infraction; people call in butts out the window all the time, which is fine. If there's a brush fire, we can follow up on that information," she said.

Hedstrom said the anti-littering road signs have an 800 number for the littering hotline and, if the person can be identified, a follow-up letter is sent.

"We don't give a lot of breaks on littering; if you are doing it, there's really not a good excuse," she said.

"You know you're not supposed to be doing it. So if we catch you doing it, you're going to get a ticket."

Reach Brian Gawley at

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