Tread Lightly! Impact Report: Big River Earth Day Cleanup

Project: Big River Earth Day Cleanup
Project #17/50
State: Rhode Island

Description: This project was funded by the Quadratec 50 for 50 Initiative. Together with Tread Lightly!, Quadratec has committed to fund a project to improve off-road trails and public lands in each state by December 2023.  

On April 22, 2023, 16 volunteers from the Ocean State Jeepsters gathered for an Earth Day cleanup of the Big River/Rhode Island Desert Area. Together volunteers removed approximately 400 pounds of microtrash, litter and dumping debris from 46 acres of land.

The area, known locally as “the desert,” is located in the Big River Management Area, managed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM). This is a 46-acre section of dunes in an 8,300-acre area and is restricted to foot-traffic only. Despite being restricted to motorized vehicles, vehicles have torn up new growth in the area and trash has been left behind. This was the motivation for the Ocean State Jeepsters to work diligently to get permission from RI DEM to clean the area and also represent the off-roading community in a positive light by leaving the area better than they found it.

Thank you to the partners who made this possible:

  • Quadratec
  • Ocean State Jeepsters

“Before the clean-up, you couldn’t look in any direction and not see some small piece of trash of some type.  As we know, trash invites more trash.  By the end of the day, we were able to drive clear across the Desert and not see any trash at all.  There was a great sense of accomplishment for a relatively small team who made a big effort.  Ocean State Jeepsters should be recognized for their selfless work not only for this year’s clean-up, but for over a decade of projects in Big River teaming up with the West Greenwich Conservation Committee on Earth Day.
There was so much trash in that one area, we didn’t get to two more areas that could use our help.  We look forward to building on the great relationships formed with the RI DEM during this process so we can look forward to getting out there and making a difference!”-Aaron Lawrence, Organizer, Master Tread Trainer

“It’s an honor to be a part of an event such as the 50/50 cleanup. It holds near and dear to my heart because I grew up less than 10 minutes away. Huge thank you to Tread Lightly! and Quadratec for supporting the cause and providing materials to help us take care of and preserve our land.”-Kristie Knox, volunteer

“Great event to help the planet and keep our recreation areas open as well as help teach the future generations about being good stewards of our lands!”-Corey Greathouse, volunteer

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