Getting our money's worth

Carol Nelson's Feb. 15 letter to the editor regarding a King County grant to Friends of the Trail was way off base.

Of the $50,000 grant, she complained, "Where I come from, that's done by volunteers." Well, in fact FOT crews are made up of volunteers, and people who owe community-service time. The grant supports skeleton staff that organizes and runs the cleanups, and the cost of maintaining a truck, a wrecker, and other equipment.

What does the public get in return? In the last five years alone, FOT has pulled dozens of abandoned cars and over 85 tons of garbage out of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. That includes piles of building materials, household garbage, old appliances, dead car batteries, worn-out tires, bags of dirty baby diapers, used oil, old paint and other nasty messes. They've cleaned up similar messes throughout King County.

King County's grant is one of the most cost-effective budget items I can imagine. Until Friends of the Trail came along, no one was cleaning up this garbage, which pollutes our rivers and groundwater, and makes a mess of our campsites and views. For $50,000 we get a million dollars worth of cleanup.

Mark Boyar


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