Drones, a toaster and a scandalous Santa among weirdest trash found at Yosemite

Paper cup and straw on ground in woodland
(Image credit: Getty)

A nonprofit organization checking garbage found at Yosemite National Park throughout 2022 have some surprising discoveries. Litter tossed aside in the park this year included crashed drones (which are illegal to fly in National Parks). a discarded toaster, condoms, and a photo of a man wearing what's described as a "scandalous Santa outfit".

Each year, the Yosemite Climbing Association holds the Yosemite Facelift – a five-day volunteer cleanup event that brings thousands of people together to help tidy the Yosmite Valley at the end of peak tourist season. This year, LA-based 5 Gyres (an organization dedicated to reducing plastic waste) trawled through a large sample of the garbage collected, plus pieces of litter recorded by members of the public throughout the summer, to identify the biggest offenders, 

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the most commonly found items were miscellaneous fragments of debris, cigarette butts, textiles (including clothes), beverage and other bottles, drink caps and rings, wrappers, bags, reading materials (such as magazines and newspapers), and face masks.

Other items frequently found were straw sun hats, lollipop sticks, toothbrushes and floss (presumably left by campers), and takeout containers. Most trash was found around areas where people congregate, such as visitor centers and campsites.

Cutting plastic

The volume and type of litter collected at the park has changed over the years, but the vast majority of trash gathered in 2022 was plastic. Sale of single-use plastics is due to be phased out on public lands over the coming years, but Yosemite Hospitality (which provides lodging and activities) says it's planning to stop supplying them as soon as possible.

To find out how to minimize your impact on the environment when camping and hiking, see out guide how to leave no trace.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.