LEAVE IT BETTER
INSPIRED BY PACKING IT OUT
A group of individuals who commit to cleaning up 300+ miles of public lands in 2021
You'll find us on long trails, waterways, section hikes, local trails and public parks from sea to shining sea.
If we can carry it, or get help lugging it out, we do our best to remove it from the wilderness and put it where it belongs.
In 2020, the team picked up over 6,695 pounds of trash from public trails and waterways around the country.
Total pounds of trash removed from trails and parks since 2017:
(The majority of that is micro trash - bar wrappers, bottle lids and toilet paper.)
After taking a major dose of inspiration from the Packing It Out team, who we befriended at Appalachian Trail Days in 2015, the
Grounds Keepers Program was born!
Through the creation of the program, we (at Granite Gear, with additional team sponsorship from our sponsors!) can support even more hikers who want to “Leave it Better” and pack out trash as they hike long trails and parks and paddle waterways and lakes around the country.
The inaugural 2017 team was compiled of 17 individuals who committed to thru-hiking various long trails in 2017; from the PCT, AT, AZT, PNT, SHT and more. Collectively, they removed 1,117 pounds of trash from our trails.
The 2018 team was made up of 25 hikers from various backgrounds and areas around the country who are committed to hiking and cleaning up at least 300 miles of trails, parks and/or public lands in 2018. In total, they removed 3868.35 pounds of trash.
In 2019, we had 30 Grounds Keepers on trails and waterways around the country. They removed 5,425 pounds of trash from our waterways, trails, parks and cities.
Our 2020 team includes 19 new Grounds Keepers who focused on cleaning up our trails and waterways, alongside our first 11-person "Legacy Team" consisting of previous year's rockstar Grounds Keepers.
For 2021, we have our two "Home Team" Legacy GKs who will focus their efforts on cleaning up Minnesota's trail systems. We also have 20 GKs who are set up in teams of two to clean up select regions around the country and all over the world (we have our first international GKs this year!).
Every Grounds Keeper has previously completed a thru-hike or various sections of hikes and paddling trips, has a passion for Leave No Trace ethics, is strong in mind and body, and is committed to doing their very best to pick up as much trash as possible while outdoors.
WHAT ARE THEY ROCKING ON TRAIL?
We’ve outfitted the Grounds Keepers with a specific kit: 1 multi-day backpack or 1 portage pack, 1 Stuffsack of their choice, 1 Toughsack, 1 pair of gloves and 1 scale
8 meals from Food for the Sole
UCO Ware from UCO
Reusable water bottle from Klean Kanteen
T-shirts from Recover Brands
Coffee from Hikers Brew
Sleeping Pad from Big Agnes
TR1 Mesh hiking shoes from Astral
Squeeze filters and insect repellent from Sawyer Products
We hope that this program inspires others to value our outdoor areas and pack out trash as they enjoy the great outdoors. When trash is in our wild places, it’s everyone’s responsibility! Follow along to see the pounds of trash picked up, and catch Grounds Keepers on Instagram. Join us and use #TheGroundsKeepers for a chance to be highlighted!