Scouts take pride in land

Litter accumulates here just as it does everywhere else, and with lots of highway miles stretching across "Big Sky" country, it could be a major problem.

Instead, Montana has a major solution.Scouts across the state take part in "Project Good Turn," a massive effort every April for the past five years, involving more than 15,000 volunteers that has resulted in removing more than 6,000 tons of trash from Montana's scenic highways. Success has come as the Scouts have teamed up with law enforcement agencies, service clubs and organizations, and Mobil Chemical, makers of the plastic garbage bags used to collect the litter.

Organized by Charles R. Timothy, a Blazer "B" Scout leader in the Missoula 4th Ward, "Project Good Turn" has been singled out four times as a national Take Pride in America award winner by the U.S. Department of the Interior. As such, they are one of President Bush's "Thousand Points of Light."

"The service project has raised public interest in the condition of our land, enhanced the Beauty of Montana, promoted recycling and given the boys pride in their state," said Brother Timothy.

One tourist from Michigan drove along the highway seeing black trash bags. After 350 miles, he was so impressed that he stopped and gave one Scoutmaster $40 to buy lunch for his Scouts.

"Last year I heard back from a mom who tried to throw a gum wrapper out the window of her car," recalled Brother Timothy. "Her son said, `You can't do that! I just cleaned this highway!' "