Adopt a Highway: Starlight Pines Homeowners Association celebrates 32 years of volunteerism

Adopt a Highway: Starlight Pines Homeowners Association celebrates 32 years of volunteerism

By Mary Currie / ADOT Communications
October 18, 2022

Fifty-three Starlight Pines residents gathered to celebrate 32 years of engaged participation in the Adopt a Highway Volunteer program at a community meeting held Saturday, Oct. 8. The community is located in Happy Jack between Payson and Winslow on State Route 87.

Starlighters Committee Chair Bonnie Steele and Adopt a Highway Group Coordinator Naïla Erwin are the positive force leading Adopt a Highway volunteer cleanups in the Starlight Pines community. 

Erwin said, “We are very proud of living in Starlight Pines and want to make sure that people who drive through see a clean highway, so they will know that we care about our community and our state.” 

 Adopt a Highway: Starlight Pines HOA Volunteer Photos, 1990 - 2022

Mary Currie, Adopt a Highway program coordinator, presented a years of service certificate and a certificate of appreciation for participating in a National CleanUp Day 2022 trash collection in September. 

Currie said, “This is such an important group of individuals that give of themselves year over year. And they continue the momentum of volunteerism so well by organizing and announcing community cleanup events.” 

Further north on SR 87, Lou and Cindy Hoover are the caretakers for an adopted two miles adjacent to the Starlighters segment. Hoover was recognized by the Starlighters for their neighborhood partnership. Erwin said, “We do the two sections together. As a reward for our hard work and a chance to visit, we have a potluck lunch afterward.”

Joel Harris, a retired Phoenix firefighter, remembers when his parents moved to Starlight and were part of the original founders of this volunteer effort. Harris says they fell in love with the surroundings and became active in preserving the community. Why is littering such a big deal? Harris said, “It destroys the natural beauty of the forest, it is unhealthy and it’s not good for the animals. We enjoy trying to keep this area clean and natural.”

Since 1990, more than 1,700 pounds of trash has been collected by 177 volunteers along the two-mile segment that parallels the community. Improving the view from the highway and preserving beauty for travelers and campers nearby are part of the legacy of community spirit Starlighters have fostered for more than three decades. 

Want to start something good in your community?  Visit to begin trash-reducing efforts along an Arizona state highway near you.

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