Jane Stebbins
The Curry Coastal Pilot

More than 20 Trash Dogs singing Oscar the Grouch's "I Love Trash" song trudged into the national forest along the Winchuck River Sunday.

"Oh, I love trash!," trilled Kevin Bain, leading the group in the Sesame Street ditty.

"Anything dirty or dingy or dusty

"Anything ragged or rotten or rusty

"Yes, I love trash!"

The Dogs celebrated its 100th dump site collection event on various side roads.

"I have here a sneaker that's tattered and worn," Bain sang.

"It's all full of holes and the laces are torn

"A gift from my mother the day I was born

"I love it because it's trash

"Oh, I love trash!"

Dirty or ragged or rotten or rusty was again the name of the game for the volunteer organization.

They pulled from the forest linoleum, culverts, logging cable, two children's bicycles, a camping toilet, a lawnmower, metal shelving and household trash.

"I have here some newspaper 13 months old," Oscar's song goes.

"I wrapped fish inside it; it's smelly and cold

"But I wouldn't trade it for a big pot o' gold!

"I love it because it's trash

"Oh, I love trash!

The Dawgs, while celebrating 100 collections in six years of work, are also looking to the future.

Being as trash is, ironically, a renewable resource, there will always be work.

The Dawgs andndash; who are not a non-profit, but more of "a group of citizens with a grant" andndash; are pondering what will happen when that grant expires at the end of 2013.

Additional federal funding may or may not be available.

Another consideration is that the Dawgs are getting older: the founders are in their 70's.

Their enthusiasm has yet to flag, however, they agreed at a meeting Monday.

"I've a clock that won't work

"And an old telephone

"A broken umbrella, a rusty trombone

"And I am delighted to call them my own!

"I love them because they're trash

"Oh, I love trash!

"Yes, I love, I love, I love trash!"

Tracking suspects

Budget cuts everywhere have put somewhat of a damper on those who illegally dump trash in the woods.

But the Brookings-based Trash Dogs, a group that hauls the junk out of national forest lands, has had some success in catching people andndash; and subsequently having U.S. Forest Service law enforcement cite them for their activities.

According to co-founder Ed Gross, a couple recently called the Dawgs to notify them of debris dumped along the south fork of the Chetco River.

And in that trash, the Dawgs found a paystub andndash; with a name and address indicating who might have done the dumping. The group turned the evidence over to the Forest Service, whose law enforcement official contacted the individual.

"After a minute or so of questioning, the guy said he 'might' have left it there," Gross said. "A bag of trash, all this other stuff, and he 'might' have left it there."

The man was fined once he confessed.

It might work again after the Dawgs last weekend found piles of household trash along the Winchuck River andndash; with the name of a local resident on envelopes, receipts, college applications and other material.

The Dawgs suspect the woman might no longer live in the area andndash; her trash indicates she might have moved to Washington andndash; so the dumper might have been the owner of an apartment or house rental.

In that case, the rental owner would likely be held liable for the dumping.

The best clue, however, was a recent receipt from Bi-Mart.

"It centers on a simple receipt as to who dumped it," Gross said, adding that it will be up to Forest Service investigators to pursue that angle. "We just need to make that connection.

"The other stuff is useless," he said, noting that most of it is dated from 10 years ago. "There's nothing for 10 years, and then there's this receipt."

Bi-Mart officials said they would assist in the investigation.

"Our role in this is not to police," Gross said. "We have a grant to pick up trash, put up signs. "We will assist cops, but our job is to pick up trash."