Summitting one of the 58 14,000+ foot peaks is a quintessential Colorado experience. Each year, thousands of hikers flock from all over the world to stand atop one of these behemoths and enjoy the beautiful mountainous scenery that ‘Colorful’ Colorado has to offer.
It goes without saying, that the high number of annual visits to 14ers leads to a significant impact on the already fragile alpine ecosystems. One of the most pervasive issues facing these beautiful mountains is litter.
Recently, through the Colorado Fourteener Initiative’s “Peak Stewards Program” volunteers hiked Mt. Sherman, picking up trash along the way. The volunteers found strange pieces of trash ranging from blenders to dirty underwear. Perhaps worst of all, volunteers collected over 30 pounds of beer bottles alone. Many of the bottles looked as though they had been intentionally smashed on boulders leaving sharp shards of glass on and near the trail.
While it is admirable that volunteers donated their time to clean litter from Mt. Sherman, it is undoubtedly a shame that there was litter in the first place. For the sake of others and the incredible mountainous Colorado landscapes, please practice and teach Leave No Trace principles. Let’s all be stewards of the land we love!