Concertgoers leave piles of trash on way to festival

This story was published on Aug. 04, 2003 on Page B2 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

LIMESTONE – There were the expected fast food and candy bar wrappers, coffee cups and soda containers, and cardboard that once held 24-packs of beer and soda. But banana peels, pieces of plastic, baby diapers, towels and at least one pair of men’s underwear were more telling of the many hours thousands of Phish fans spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic through Friday night on the roads leading to Loring Commerce Centre where the band performed over the weekend.

The trash was visible along Routes 1 and 89 in Caribou, and on Route 1A from the East Gate of Loring on Route 89 through Limestone, Fort Fairfield and on to Easton Center.

Some people who live in homes along the Phish routes picked up the trash left in their front yards, but piles of debris, quite high in places, remained along the roadsides.

“It would probably fall on us to clean the area along the Route 1 bypass,” Greg Curran of the Maine Department of Transportation in Caribou said Saturday afternoon. “Someone has helped. A lot of it has been picked up and put in piles between the travel lanes. I don’t know if it’s local residents or the Boy Scouts or someone else.”

By Saturday morning, the lines of cars had left, but the litter remained.

“The Maine Department of Transportation was notified Friday night,” Officer Stan Nicholson of the Fort Fairfield Police Department said Saturday afternoon. “In the past, volunteers have also helped with the cleanup.

“It gets to be quite a mess,” he said. “They just drop bags, believing someone will pick it up.”

While the litter is scattered about, there was at least one place where a huge pile was created around a 35-gallon gray garbage can. It looked like someone may have piled it there.

Other piles seemed to have grown around an abandoned garbage bag.

On Saturday morning, a few people could be seen checking out the area for returnable containers, but the trash was left there.

It is an area that was cleaned earlier in the spring, after the snow melted, according to Curran.