KOOTENAI, Idaho — A long-haul driver who goes by “Trucker Matt” has taken it upon himself to clean a stretch of Interstate 90 when his travels take him daily on the heavily traveled north Idaho freeway, which links Idaho to Montana and Washington State.
Matthew Culver hauls cedar bark from Naples, Idaho, to Superior, Montana. He has been driving a truck since retiring from the Marine Corps in 1999, and has owned his own truck — and his own company — since 2007.
Culver has driven the route daily for about four-and-a-half years, and officially signed on with the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) Adopt-A-Highway litter pickup program about two years ago. Since then, he has picked up nearly 100 bags of litter from “his” stretch of interstate.
“I not only clean up Fourth of July Summit, but all over on the route in any wide spot where a truck can safely park,” he said. “Fourth of July Pass is my primary objective since it seems to get the most trash, but I also clean up the Idaho Port of Entry roadside temporary inspection location in East Hope at Denton Slough, and occasionally Lookout Pass Summit.”
Culver’s cleanup efforts aren’t limited to I-90. H said he and his wife will often bring back a bag of trash from wherever their hiking and fishing adventures take them.
“Wherever Matt goes and whatever he does, he continually looks for ways to make a positive difference,” said Robin Karsann, ITD’s volunteer services coordinator.
Culver said his time in the military made him appreciate cleanliness.
“Having served 25 years in the Marine Corps, I never like seeing an unsightly area with trash strewn about everywhere,” he said. “Besides, Idaho and Montana are just too beautiful to see trash along the road.”
He said it is very rewarding when he sees a clean stretch of highway that was once cluttered with trash.
“I get dejected when I see trash on the roadside, but when I take action, I feel that I’ve made a positive difference in keeping roads clean and pleasing to the eye,” he said.
Culver said he would love to see more people get involved in keeping roads clear of debris.
“I urge others to get involved by contacting your local IDT office and sign up,” he said. “The Idaho Transportation Department will provide trash bags and safety vests. Not only have I benefited in getting exercise by picking up trash, and experienced the rewarding feeling of making a difference; I have also collected thousands of dollars in excellent-condition tire chains, bungee cords, hand tools and more — all left abandoned by truckers. It’s a win-win-win situation.”
Culver Enterprises is one of the 242 organizations in Idaho’s District 1 that participate in the Adopt-a-Highway program. Some have made it a long-term commitment.
“What amazes me about being a Volunteer Services Coordinator for District 1 is to see the faithfulness and longevity of participation our volunteers show year after year,” said Karsann. “Several groups have been participants for more than 20 years.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.