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A few months ago I stumbled across the biggest backcountry trash heap
I’ve ever seen. While rock climbing in Northrup Canyon, near Banks
Lake and Steamboat Rock, I found approximately 2 or 3 acres of rusted
cans. I couldn’t believe it. My climbing partner and I hypothesized
that they came from the workers on Grand Coulee Dam. Roughly 65 years
ago, in the middle of nowhere, it wouldn’t have mattered much if this
is where the dam workers dumped their garbage.

Awhile later, I mentioned this to another climbing friend who happened
to be one of the participants in the massive Yosemite Valley Clean Up
last year. She reported that there was “trash” in Yosemite Valley that
they were ordered to leave be. Some old mining camps, burned down
trapper cabins, and some other odds and ends were off limits from
clean up.

I always figured that if it didn’t grow there, it didn’t belong there.
Then again, aren’t ALL artifacts trash. Which makes me wonder, how
many more decades until this spot in Northrup Canyon is an historic
site or off limits from clean up.

-Jon Jonckers

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