Behind-the-Scenes: Volunteering at Yosemite Facelift

The Yosemite Facelift began when climber Ken Yager and friends noticed toilet paper littering the Yosemite Valley. Their efforts to pick up the piles turned into Yosemite Valley’s largest, annual volunteer clean up event. These days, this multi-day effort also includes speakers, fundraising, and a community effort to keep this beautiful area clean.

Zoe, our Social Media Coordinator, drove up to Yosemite a few weeks ago to lend a helping hand. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek inside this year’s clean-up!

 Wednesday, September 21

  • Left for the 6-hour car ride from Toad HQ
  • Got to Yosemite in the evening, and stopped to watch the beautiful sunset

  • Set up camp. Met our camp neighbors, Tioga Brewing Company. (They gave us lots of free beer – thanks, Tioga!)


Thursday, September 22

  • Breakfast by the campfire

  • Drove over to the Yosemite Visitors’ Center to visit the tents of super cool brands and Yosemite National Park representatives.

  • Vegan lunch panel hosted by our own Sarah Palladino (Senior Manager of People, Planet, & Community)
    • The panel discussed plastics in Yosemite, how we can be better individuals when it comes to reducing plastic use, the effects of microplastics, and how Toad&Co is reducing our plastic waste.
    • Joining Sarah on the panel were 5Gyres, Yosemite Facelift (Ken Yager), and Yosemite Hospitality.

  • Hiked around the Lower Falls area and picked up trash

  • Evening raffle with all brand sponsors (Here are the winners of the Toad raffle) 
  • Back to camp to set up for dinner

  • Spent the evening around camp talking to camp neighbors (Tioga Brewing Company, North Face, Parks Project, 5 Geyers, and Patagonia)

Friday, September 23

  • We were assigned a “special cleaning assignment” to go to the far end of the park that’s closing for the season and pick up trash from the campgrounds!
  • Drove 1-hour to the far end and picked up trash around campsites, making friends with the park rangers in the process.

  • Drove to a viewpoint and had lunch 
  • Hiked and picked up more trash

  • Listened to rock climber and mountaineer guest speaker, Conrad Aker
  • Headed back to camp for dinner
  • Spent the rest of the evening hanging out with camp neighbors again!

Sound like fun? Yosemite Facelift is open to anyone who wants to volunteer; keep an eye out for next year’s registration, or volunteer virtually to keep your neck of the woods clean.