Adopt-a-Highway - Getting started

 Soroptimist International of Sedro Woolley volunteer to pick up litter.

Adopt-a-Highway is a roadside clean-up program that promotes pride and local ownership in Washington. Become a volunteer and your group will be doing something great for your community.

  • Your group will pick up litter as outlined in your agreement.
  • Your group will Adopt a section of roadside (usually two miles). For availability contact your local coordinator.
  • Your groups name will be placed on AAH sign at the site for recognition.

Signing up is easy. All you need to do is contact your local coordinator and they can let you know what is available for adoption. (As of Oct. 18, 2021, all Adopt-a-Highway volunteer group members must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to participate in cleanups and other activities. Group leaders must provide a declaration that all members meet the Governor’s vaccine mandate standards. For more details, speak with the local coordinator).

Cleaning up your section of the roadway is outlined in your agreement with WSDOT. The agreement is for a 4-year period, which can be extended or canceled.

Can we landscape our section of the highway? Contact your  local coordinator if you’d like to do more.

Have you noticed those small markers along the side of Interstate highways and some other roads? They are  mile post or a mile marker and are usually green or white and have the word MILE along with a number; some just have the number. 

These "mile markers" show the number of miles from where the Interstate route entered the state in which you are traveling. The counting always begins at the state line in the south (for north-south routes) and in the west (for east-west routes). So, mile marker numbers always get larger as you travel east or north.

WSDOT offices have volunteers pick up equipment (hats, vests, signs, etc.) before their first time picking up litter and hold onto their equipment, other offices loan the equipment for litter pickup only. WSDOT does not provide pick up sticks. However, you can buy them at your local hardware store.

Safety is your most important job when picking up litter. Use the equipment provided to you by your coordinator and follow WSDOT's safety tips.  

Why can't we pick up litter on holidays? Traffic tends to be greater during these times, and you are encouraged to pick up during non-peak traffic flows, such as weekends and mid-day during the week. 

If you find large or dangerous objects, please do not pick them up. Try to leave a bright marker or piece of tape by the object. Call your coordinator and they will arrange for WSDOT crews to pick up the object(s).

Report your groups pick up by sending in an activity report for by mail or you can use the  Online Activity Report.

This is important because WSDOT needs to keep track of how often groups are picking up litter. It also allows WSDOT to maintain insurance coverage for our volunteers. 

Picking a name for your group: The signs are intended to recognize you or your group, not your message. Many groups simply have the name of their family or organization. You can choose to have “in memory of” a loved one. Two lane highways have signs with space for up to three lines of text with 13 characters per line. Interstates/multi-lane highways have signs with space for up to three lines of text with 20 characters per line.

Groups with volunteer agreements cannot have a logo put on the highway sign. Groups with sponsored agreements for a third party to clean up can have a logo on their sign. These groups are required to pay WSDOT-approved contractors for the litter pickup and disposal of filled bags. WSDOT charges a fee to the sponsor group for the highway sign, which the group can place a logo on. 

Learn about sponsorships

If my business wants to hire a contractor to pick, how much would it cost? It depends on several things, such as the cost the contractor charges to pick up litter and dispose of it. In addition, WSDOT charges a fee of $300-$900 for the placement of a highway sign - depending on the section of highway.