Dead Trees for a Good Cause


Jennifer Canfield/KMXT

Alaska Waste is teaming up with the local Boy Scouts Troop 626 to collect dead Christmas trees. The partnership and project came to fruition in less than 24 hours and will benefit both the borough landfill and the Boy Scouts.

Rick Vahl is the district manager for Alaska Waste, which manages the landfill. When Vahl realized earlier this week that there were no programs in town that would make use of the trees, he jumped into action. He remembered that the Boy Scouts used to have a program that collected the trees for donations. Steve Paulson is the Scout Master for the local troop and says that they troop stopped collecting the trees several years ago after it became too much work for the small troop, which has 15 members aged 11 to 17. However, the troop has been holding bake sales to raise money for a big trip; They want to travel to West Virginia for the National Scout Jamboree in July 2013

Vahl called up Paulson and a plan was hatched.

Together Troop 626 and Alaska Waste will collect the trees. The Boy Scouts will get to ask for a donation for each tree and Alaska Waste keeps the them out of the landfill, which is already nearing capacity and is scheduled for expansion.

Vahl says the project is a great partnership and hopes it will continue.

(Trees Collection 1 :13 "Hopefully next year we can have a little more time to plan because the Boy Scouts are real interested in doing these environmental-type projects because it diverts waste from the landfill, the Dumpsters and the ditches.")

Paulson says the troop has worked with the Island Trails Network in the past to make use of the dead trees and perhaps next year, with a little more planning, they can get involved with them again.

(Trees Collection 2 :14 "Thre’s a lot of things you can do with trees. Christmas trees, erosion control was our main focus. Placing them on areas of the Buskin River for example where there was erosion happening, that seemed to work pretty well.")

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the next three Saturdays, the Boy Scouts will have a set up in the Safeway parking lot. People can bring their trees by and leave them for a $5 donation. If they’d rather not make the trip, they can call Alaska Waste and arrange to have their tree picked up for a $10 donation. All the money will go toward the scouts’ trip.

As the trees are collected they will be moved to a vacant lot near the little league baseball field. On January 14th the trees will provide fuel for a bonfire to celebrate the end of the holiday season and a successful partnership.

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