It took one hour to make the Pennybacker Bridge overlook a little cleaner

It took one hour to make the Pennybacker Bridge overlook a little cleaner

Jeff Sheldon pauses during an hour-long trash cleanup at the Pennybacker Bridge overlook Wednesday to enjoy the view. Pam LeBlanc photo


One hour, six bags of trash and a moldy old rug.

That was the haul after an hour-long sweep of the trail at the Pennybacker Bridge overlook on the northwest corner of Lake Austin at Loop 360.

I visited the spot for the first time a few weeks ago, and was dismayed to find it littered with plastic bottles, beer cans, discarded face masks and food wrappers. I mentioned it in a post on Facebook, and a few friends suggested that we gather for an informal trash cleanup.

We did that today. It didn’t take long, and picking up trash (at least two pieces a day) is part of my list of New Year’s resolutions.

This is not pretty, folks. Ugly graffiti covers many of the limestone rocks at the overlook. Pam LeBlanc photo

We’ve named our little group the Cycling Cleanup Crew, and we plan to organize a quick cleanup at various locations around Austin roughly every month. Care to join us? Check back here. I’ll post details. All you have to do is bring a trash bag and gloves, and the willingness to leave our Austin greenspace a little cleaner than you found it. Participants are encouraged to arrive by bicycle.

Today, Dan Pedroza (whom I met while riding my bicycle across Iowa a few years ago), Jeff Sheldon (whom I met while picking up barbecue at the amazing Stiles Switch), and Margaret Licarione (whom I met for the first time today), and I made a quick run up the overlook, gathering trash like we were hunting for Easter eggs. It appears that people drop trash off the edge of the cliff (“I’m done with this bag of Fritos, guess I’ll just pitch it over the edge!”) while they’re up there enjoying one of the best views in Austin, and most of the detritus is precariously lodged in bushes on the cliff, just out of safe reach. What we really need are some rappelers to pitch in.

I removed at least three long tinsel garlands from trees at the site, along with a dozen or so broken Christmas bulbs. I love Christmas as much as anyone, but nothing says “I don’t care about the environment” like hanging cheap junk in trees on the side of the road and not cleaning it up afterward. Most of it winds up blowing off and spoiling our green space. Please don’t do it.

Margaret found an old rug in the woods, half buried in the trampled dirt. We pried it out and hauled it away.

Today’s cleanup didn’t take long, and it felt great to get outside and leave a tiny corner of Austin nicer than we found it. Want to join us? Check my Facebook page for upcoming details.

Jeff Sheldon, left, and Dan Pedroza, right, hoist an old rug into the bed of my truck. Pam LeBlanc photo



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