SEDONA, Ariz. — Sedona has seen a spike in litter since the start of the pandemic, according to a local business owner. Now he, and countless volunteers, are fighting back.
Jason Danoff owns Trail Lovers Excursions and has a front-row seat to Sedona’s unfolding mess.
“Honestly," he said, "I was just simply overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of trash I was seeing everywhere.”
Areas hit particularly hard run along the mountain town’s two creeks.
"And that was the most scary part, that was the dangerous part, and that’s what inspired the change," he said. "We saw broken glass, diapers, and feminine hygiene products floating in the same water we were swimming in."
That change centered around the creation of Stewards of Sedona, a volunteer-driven group focused on cleaning up trash.
Roughly 1,400 glass bottles, 400 cardboard juice boxes, 440 receipts, and more have been picked up since its launch in Mid-March.
But the problem has evolved.
"We’re seeing tree carvings, we’re seeing rock carvings, and we’re seeing more graffiti than I’ve ever seen in Sedona, ever," Danoff explained.
He believes this issue is directly related to the increased free time people have experienced since the pandemic.
“Just unforeseen amount of usage," he said. "Never seen this many people in Sedona. It feels like it’s a Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend…it feels like a holiday weekend pretty much every day.”
If you would like to volunteer or see the progress that the group is making, check out the Stewards of Arizona Facebook page for more.