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Volunteers clean up Brockway Mountain

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Dan Kauppi and Scott Ochodnicky of Copper Harbor pick up trash near the summit of Brockway Mountain Saturday during the first Brockway Mountain Cleanup.

BROCKWAY MOUNTAIN — One of Adam Simon’s favorite pastimes is hunting for agates.

Near the summit of Brockway Mountain Saturday afternoon, he turned his discerning eye from treasure to trash.

“That’s what I’m applying towards this, using that same mentality of just focusing on anything that looks like it doesn’t belong,” he said.

There was plenty. Simon was one of about 50 people who turned out for the first Brockway Mountain Cleanup Saturday.

The idea came after the cancellation of the Brockway Mountain Challenge, a fat bike race that had been planned for March 2020. There were pint glasses and about $200 left over, said organizer Dan Kauppi. With the blessing of sponsors, it went towards the cleanup.

“They all said, ‘That’s a really good idea,'” he said.

The earliest volunteers received the leftover pint glasses from the race. Afterwards, they were treated to a barbecue at the summit.

Kauppi estimated about 50 people came out. The volunteers went out in teams to clean up the 8 miles of mountain in 1-mile intervals.

Kauppi, who lives near the base of the mountain, frequently picks up garbage on his own. Over the past two months, he had picked up about 15 grocery bags’ worth even before the cleanup, he said.

“It’s great that we use this mountain,” he said. “I just wanted to put a little work into a cleanup.”

The bushes are magnets for windblown debris, Simon found. The most common items he spotted were cigarette butts, cans and miscellaneous pieces of plastic.

Simon said it was about doing his part.

“This is quite a good turnout, but I think even more people would show up if they knew about it,” he said.

Kauppi’s not sure yet if there will be another one.

“I don’t know if it’ll be an annual thing, but it’s a good thing to get people in the mindset,” he said.

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