Posted By: Highway,

Adopt-A-Highway Program Details

  • It is a public service program for volunteers to pick up litter along Otter Tail County Highways.
  • It is a way for environmentally conscious citizens to make a personal contribution to a cleaner environment.

Why You Should Care

  • Litter is unsightly. It destroys the natural beauty of Otter Tail County’s roadsides.
  • Litter is expensive to pick up. Otter Tail County spends approximately $10,000 per year picking up litter with MN / DOT spending approximately $2,000,000 per year to remove litter from state highways across Minnesota.
  • Litter free county highways say “Welcome” to visitors in Otter Tail County and make us proud to be Minnesotans.

How the Otter Tail County’s Adopt-a-Highway Program Works

Community groups, churches, businesses, individuals or other interested parties adopt a county highway by picking up litter along both sides of the roadway for at least 2 years.

Adopt-A-Highway Groups Responsibilities & Roles

  • Adopt a county highway for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Select a segment of county highway at least 2 miles in length.
  • Pick up the litter along both sides of the county highway at least 2 times per year.

The Otter Tail County Highway Department Responsibilities & Roles

  • Provide high visibility vests, trash bags and safety information.
  • Remove filled trash bags from the road sides and remove large, heavy or hazardous items.
  • Erect a 2.5 foot by 4 foot sign to recognize your group’s efforts.

What Else You Should Know

  • The Otter Tail County Highway Department will help your group select a county highway to adopt.
  • Your group’s representative will sign an agreement on behalf of your entire group.
  • All participants must review the safety information provided by the Otter Tail County Highway Department before every pick up.
  • Participants must be at least 12 years old, unless written permission is obtained from the Otter Tail County Highway Department. Participants 18 years of age or younger must have adequate adult supervision.
  • Work may not be allowed on or near holidays.
  • Groups shall leave filled trash bags along the roadside as specified by the Otter Tail County Highway Department. Groups are encouraged to recycle materials for their own benefit.

How to Sign Up

If you would like to adopt a county highway, feel free to download and fill out the Adopt A Highway Agreement then please stop by, call, or write to the Otter Tail County Highway Department. Please also review the safety tips!

 Safety Information

Remember Highway Safety

A highway is a dangerous place to be. Every crew member should possess the following qualifications:

  • At least 12 years of age, unless written permission is obtained from the Otter Tail County Highway Department.
  • Mentally alert; good common sense.
  • Good physical condition, including sight and hearing.
  • Sense of responsibility for safety of self and others.
  • Adult supervision for workers under age 18.

Planning Ahead

Review safety precautions and take them seriously.

  • Assign work teams and leaders before you reach the site. Distribute trash bags beforehand. Estimate the amount of time for your pick up and agree on a meeting place when you’re done..
  • Carpool to the site to reduce the number of vehicles along the highway. Park vehicles on approaches. Use approaches in advance of the work area and on the same side of the highway that crews are working.
  • Bring along an adequate first-aid kit. Identify the nearest hospital and know how to get there in case of an emergency.
  • Do not over exert yourself. Bring along a supply of drinking water and take breaks.
    Appropriate Clothing
  • Brightly Colored Cap
  • Caps or Hats and Long Sleeves for Sunburn
  • Heavy Gloves
  • Heavy Leather Shoes or Boots
  • High Visibility Vests
  • Light Colored Clothing
  • Use Sunscreen, Insect or Tick Repellent

While Working

  • Work only during daylight hours during good weather.
  • Work one side of the highway at a time. Do not cross the highway to get to your vehicle.
  • Whenever possible, face oncoming traffic. Stay alert and be prepared to move out of the way in an emergency. Stay with your team.
  • Do not wear headsets which could prevent you from hearing traffic or other hazards.
  • Do not crush collected trash to make more room in the bag. Broken or jagged objects could cause accidental injuries.
  • Never try to pick up heavy, large or hazardous materials. Do not risk handling needles, weapons, dead animals or potentially infectious waste. Do not put needles into the trash bag as they can easily puncture the bag and cause serious injury. Notify the Otter Tail County Highway Department for disposal.
  • Do not play around or do anything to purposely distract drivers.

Things to Avoid When Working

  • Stay away from construction sites, mowing activities, open water, bridges, overpasses and retaining walls that could be dangerous for pedestrians.
  • Avoid poison ivy or other noxious weeds. Stay away from recently applied herbicides.
  • Never attempt to pick up heavy, large or hazardous materials. Notify the Otter Tail County Highway Department for pick up.
  • Never open containers of any kind. Dangerous chemicals can be harmful if inhaled or contacted in any way.


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Posted By: Highway,

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