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Dump no more: Friends of the Trail clear illegal junk site on North Bend's Middle Fork

Jeff Moe of Triple J Towing, right, and Friends of the Trail president Wade Holden, left, to examine their latest haul from a dump site on the Middle Fork, a rusty box-spring and what might be a radiator cover.  - Carol Ladwig / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Jeff Moe of Triple J Towing, right, and Friends of the Trail president Wade Holden, left, to examine their latest haul from a dump site on the Middle Fork, a rusty box-spring and what might be a radiator cover.
— image credit: Carol Ladwig / Snoqualmie Valley Record

It wasn't the nastiest thing to come up the hill this morning, but the rotted frame of a rusty box-spring trailing leaves and garbage behind it, was,  for the moment, the most fascinating.
"I'm definitely going to check that out when he lets us see it!" announced a delighted Max Karlinski, the 8-year-old discoverer of the junk pile that yielded this treasure. A minute later, attempting to bounce on the springs, he said, "This isn't too bad!"

The junk was strewn along a steep slope down to a straight stretch of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, near Jeff Martine's (Max's grandfather's) house. It included three abandoned cars and mountains of trash, and some of it has been there for decades.

"A lot of these dump sites are places where people have been coming for generations," said Morgan John, a planner with the King County Solid Waste Division. "This has probably been going on since the '30s or '50s, whenever this road went in," he said, gesturing to the old logging road, now overgrown with grass.

This dump site is on public land, though, so King County was called to clean the area up, to restore the natural beauty that brings recreational users to the river. John contacted Wade Holden, of the not-for-profit Friends of the Trail, to get the job done.

"We do all the illegal dump sites in the county," Holden explained about the North Bend-based Friends of the Trail. In the 15 years that the organization has existed, "We've hauled hundreds of tons of crap out of the county," he said.

Holden expected it would take him and his three helpers, long-time volunteer Bob Kaake, and two community-service workers, a couple of days to complete the project. They started on Tuesday, May 24, with the big items, three cars and a stump more than three feet across.

"Once we get this all cleaned out, we can bring in the trash sledge for the rest of it," Holden explained. After picking up and bagging all the knee-deep garbage on the slope, he said, the work crew could throw all the bags onto the sledge and drag them out in one trip.

Jeff Moe, of North Bend's Triple J Towing used his tow truck to drag out the cars and that box-spring in the morning, and then it was trash time. Just before Holden and crew descended the slope again, trash bags in hand, he talks about some of the finds he's made: guns, cash, hunting knives, but nothing too exciting. "But one guy down there, last week, he found a one-carat diamond!"

"That's Chuck," said volunteer Salaam, "He's so lucky!"

Maybe, but he didn't find any rusty box-springs that week.

To report an illegal dumpsite, you can call the King County Solid Waste Illegal Dumping Hotline at 206-296-7483, or visit the website: http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/cleanup/report-dumping.asp.

For more information, visit http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/index.asp or http://www.friendsofthetrail.org.

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