Boy Scouts Camping at a Landfill?

The La Crosse County landfill master plan included a comprehensive public education and outreach program. The program is designed to encourage public use of the landfill’s extensive surrounding green space and impressive onsite trail system.

The La Crosse County Solid Waste Department’s public outreach program included the Boy Scout Camporee; a two-day, one-night environmental education, training and service event conducted at the 350-acre landfill site. While the site does contain an active landfill, its surrounding green space and location in the scenic hills of western Wisconsin make it an ideal and safe setting for the Boy Scouts to study environmental science, sustainability, recycling and more.

The Boy Scout Camporee was planned and executed jointly by the La Crosse County Solid Waste Department and the Gateway Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, with support and involvement from a variety of area volunteers and stakeholders.

Specifically, the Camporee event provides the Boy Scouts with the opportunity to earn community service hours by helping to improve hiking trails on the landfill site, removing onsite invasive plant species and recovering recyclable materials left behind by previous property owners.

The Boy Scouts, their leaders and parent volunteers pitched tents, cooked over campfires and engaged in a wide range of service and learning activities.
Henry Koch, PE, Director of the La Crosse County Solid Waste Department

The event is one example of a public outreach program that encourages solid waste reduction, reuse and recycling, as well as future participation in these types of community clean-up events.

Event organizers hope the program can help shift common perceptions from the traditional concept of a public “dump” to the current and evolving role of the landfill site as a resource recovery facility and an area land asset with long-term value.

Organizers received strong positive reviews from participants and based on the Camporee’s success, similar public outreach events have been scheduled for the future.

About La Crosse County Landfill

The La Crosse County Solid Waste Department manages the 350-acre landfill site, which serves five counties and 27 municipalities in west central Wisconsin and east central Minnesota.

The landfill’s master plan features a mix of public-private partnerships that provide reuse, resource recovery, recycling and landfill diversion programs, and public education and outreach. It is the first and only publicly owned landfill in the state to be accepted into the Wisconsin DNR’s Green Tier sustainability program.

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