A flattened Budweiser can on the side of RR 1431 is exactly the type of trash Hill Country Litter Lifters will be looking for during the group’s upcoming road cleanup. Staff photo by Nathan Bush
Hill Country Litter Lifters recently adopted a stretch of RR 1431 between Marble Falls and Granite Shoals in hopes of revitalizing the roadway by removing trash and debris. A cleanup is from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, and volunteers are needed, said group founder Tom Rapp.
Litter Lifters formed earlier this year to clean up streets and highways in the Highland Lakes. Recently, Rapp decided to up the ante by adopting 2 miles of RR 1431.
“I talked to some people about (RR 1431), and they told me it was an Adopt-A-Highway area,” Rapp said. “I started talking to some folks in Austin and was told we could take over the area because the people who were supposed to be doing it haven’t been. It will now be our official cleanup area.”
Currently, crushed beer cans, used diapers, plastic, and fast food bags clutter the otherwise scenic roadway.
Rapp believes his group will be able to make the highway look as good as new, a statement to those who litter.
“I hope we pass a message that says that stuff shouldn’t be out there in the first place,” he said. “If we did a better job of not doing what’s convenient but doing what’s right, it wouldn’t get dirty in the first place.”
While cleaning up trash is an obvious goal of the Hill Country Litter Lifters, Rapp said the group also instill a sense of togetherness as strangers stand side by side tidying up roads.
“What it’s really about is building community,” he said. “You may be picking up beside someone you’ve never met before, but maybe because of that, you’ll develop a friendship.”
With anywhere from 10 to 12 helpers for each cleanup, Rapp said the group is always looking for more volunteers.
“We have probably had 20 or so people come out at some time or another,” he said. “I’d like to make sure we have 20 for a big area like (RR 1431).”
Rapp’s ultimate goal for the group is for it to become unnecessary.
“I hope we put Litter Lifters out of business,” he said.
Because the cleanup is on a state highway, interested volunteers must watch a short, five-minute safety video from the Texas Department of Transportation before going out into the field.
TxDOT will provide vests and trash bags. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own trash grabbers, though a few will be available for use. Also bring gloves, hats, sunscreen, and water.
Prospective volunteers must be present for the pre-event review of the TxDOT safety card before anyone can start picking up trash.