‘It’s very frustrating’: Jefferson County community inundated by trash

Posted at 4:35 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 11:04:18-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY – Neighbors in a Jefferson County community are growing frustrated over trash littering the road. Recently, they’ve taken matters into their own hands, walking the streets to pick it up only to find more trash the next day.

One of those neighbors is Cassidy Cunningham who lives in the area along McClellan Creek Road outside Montana City. Cunningham knows the area well, having lived there since she was young. Her family also owns a nearby ranch. Now when she walks the roads near her home, her eyes are peeled on the ground, scanning for things that don’t belong.

“Tons of twisted tea right now. Just bottles, cans, people have been throwing household items off the side of the road. Lots of car parts. Just anything and everything you can think of,” Cunningham said.

The problem is not new, but multiple people who frequent the area agree it’s getting worse.

“I would just see all this trash off to the side of the road. It’s like the more I picked it up the more I noticed,’ Leslie Jimmerson, who has family in the area, said.

The problem has gotten so bad neighbors have literally taken matters into their own hands, volunteering to go out with bags and collect trash as they find it. Between Jimmerson and Cunningham, they’ve picked up enough trash to fill around a dozen trash bags.

Neither can say for sure who is behind the trash, but Cunningham has some ideas.

“With all the twisted tea, I assume that it’s younger kids and then just throwing it off the side of the road which is very sad,” Cunningham said.

Sally Bostrom also lives in the area. She said trash tends to collect along the road this time of year.

“It’s gotten worse. It usually does in the spring, and there’s usually high school kids and probably college kids that come up and party,” Bostrom said.

Neighbors say they’ve contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office about the problem, and law enforcement has been receptive to their complaints. They are looking at ways to increase patrols in the area.

In the meantime, neighbors will stay on trash duty.

“I’m going to be constantly looking,” Jimmerson said.

But Cunningham is getting tired of cleaning up after others.

“It’s very frustrating. We have to spend our days, weekends, cleaning up other people’s trash when there’s other things I could be doing,” Cunningham said.

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is aware of past issues in the area. A spokesperson said a nearby road to the Crystal Creek dispersed campsite was closed to motorized use to help reduce vandalism and trash in the area. The site has since been rehabbed by staff and is monitored by on a fairly routine basis.