🥾No Trace Trails - a 2,650-Mile Survey of Trash & Microplastics on the Pacific Crest Trail🥤

Macy Gustavus has an M.S. in watershed sciences studying microplastic transport and is also a member of Beyond Plastics Volunteer Speaker’s Bureau.

On March 28, 2023, two scientists, Dr. Victoria McGruer and Macy Gustavus (a Beyond Plastics activist and Volunteer Speakers Bureau member), will embark on a 2,650-mile hike to survey trash and microplastics on the Pacific Crest Trail. The project will take the better part of six months to complete and will provide much-needed information about trash and microplastics in wilderness ecosystems. You can follow along on their journey on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok or via their web site, NoTraceTrails.com.

In recent years, people have flocked to national parks and wilderness areas and increased traffic on back country trails often means increased trash, the effects of which we know very little about.  To combat litter in recreation areas we need data. The pair will begin their survey at the U.S. border with Mexico and then hike the continuous trail spanning California, Oregon and Washington before finishing at the Canadian border near Vancouver.

Dr. Tori McGruer has a Ph.D., in toxicology studying environmental pollution.

For every 10 miles of the trail that they hike, the two will stop to take a 1km trash survey where they’ll take pictures of any trash that they find to record brand, trash type, and size. Soil samples will be collected about  every 50 miles of the trail and shipped to a lab for microplastics analysis. The trail traverses through diverse landscapes, some of which are accessible by day hikers and others, reserved for the most prepared long distance hikers. This diversity in ecosystems and usage will allow the study to assess the drivers and impact of plastic pollution on trails.

This comprehensive dataset will provide insight about trail trash to the scientific community, land managers, and policy makers. Sharing the results of this survey will hopefully inspire others to conduct similar studies and to make changes in their habits around trash in wilderness areas from National Parks to municipal nature preserves. Ultimately, the two hope to talk trash and trails with people from all walks of life to protect the natural resources that we are so lucky to enjoy. 

You can join the survey, too! Head to www.NoTraceTrails.com to learn more, donate, or join the trash survey team. Using the Rubbish trash survey mobile app, anyone can join Tori and Macy in recording trash they find on trails anywhere in the world!


✍️Harnessing the Power of the Postcard📮


☠️In the “Belly of the Beast” - A Toxic Tour of Port Arthur, TX with Activist John Beard Jr🛢️