Adopt a Highway: 'All the Way to the Border' litter pickup coming to SR 286

Adopt a Highway: 'All the Way to the Border' litter pickup coming to SR 286

January 9, 2019

By Mary Currie / ADOT Communications

Melissa Owen of Rancho Sierra Vista de Sasabe is a proponent of good clean fun.

As a testament to that, Owen, part of ADOT's Adopt a Highway program, coordinates what she calls “the almost annual All the Way to the Border Highway Cleanup” along State Route 286 in southern Arizona.

Last year, 60 volunteers, including friends, family, neighbors, businesses, a couple traveling in from New Mexico and a Texas law firm associate met at the Three Points Community Center to join the litter cleanup. Trico Electric Cooperative and the San Fernando School Parents Association provided food for the volunteers throughout the day.

The volunteers picked up 80 bags of litter and a couple of bicycles on a 25-mile stretch that's more than half of the roadway between Three Points to the north and Sasabe at the Mexico border.

This time around, Owen’s goal is far bigger: a one-day cleanup along the entire 45-mile length of SR 286 scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26.

Jesuit missionaries in the 18th century followed a trail that is now SR 286, and it's used by ranchers, wildlife refuge volunteers and those traveling to and from Mexico. It winds through the western edge of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the eastern edge of the Tohono O’odham Nation, passing Baboquivari Peak and Kitt Peak along the way.

Owen, an area rancher, has been organizing litter pickups along scenic SR 286 since 1997. The photo atop this post shows her with a fellow volunteer at a 2016 event.

Ordinarily ADOT writes Adopt a Highway volunteer program permits for a time period of two years and a minimum of 2-mile sections along ADOT highways. Owen approached ADOT's South Central District with an idea: Would ADOT write an Adopt a Highway volunteer program permit for one day and 45 miles? The answer was yes.

Owen says organizing the estimated 200 people required for an endeavor on this scale will require more assistance from the community than she's arranged in the past. If you'd like to pitch in, her email is [email protected]. You also can email me at [email protected].

ADOT will be there Jan 26 to support the effort and these dedicated volunteers.

For more information about the ADOT Adopt a Highway Volunteer program, please visit



EDITOR'S NOTE: The author oversees ADOT Adopt a Highway programs.



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