Mount Trashmore

When you think of befitting tributes to our great nation, there’s the usual suspects: Washington Monument; the Statue of Liberty; Lincoln Memorial; the Liberty Bell (cast before the US was a country, but captures our spirit); and Mount Rushmore.

But what about… Mount Trashmore?

The US produces more trash than any other country in the world. If you’re an American, you throw away about 7 pounds of trash a day. A day! It’s like you’re giving birth to a beautiful trash baby every 24 hours. A bundle of joy, a beautiful, rotting mound of spoiled food and dirty diapers, mixed liberally with metal, crushed glass, plastic, and sometimes even hazardous materials.

Of course, most of that goes to the landfill. That convenient, far-off place where we can forget the whole mess. Until urban sprawl encroaches, or we find that placing that dump next to a critical body of water maybe wasn’t the smartest idea.

That’s when a Mount Trashmore is born.

Yes, a Mount Trashmore. Not the Mount Trashmore.

A quick search on Google reveals that there well over a dozen Mount Trashmores in the US. From California to New Hampshire, Florida to Wisconsin, our Mount Trashmores gleam in the morning sun, releasing only the occasional stray bit of noxious fumes. These “mountains” range from still active dumps to parks to, in one unique case, a source of alternative energy.


An absolutely beautiful view of a Mount Trashmore in Massachusetts. (Photo by FromSandToGlass.)

In Riverview, Michigan – south of Detroit – the initial plan was turn the local Mount Trashmore into a ski resort of sorts. That may sound odd, but it’s not all that unusual in Metro Detroit, where both a gravel pile and a pile of mine tailings were transformed into skiing hot spots as part of the state’s unofficial “take that Colorado!” campaign. And in Franklin, Wisconsin, you really can ski on an old landfill.

So why not in Riverview?

Riverview’s future as a Midwest ski mecca was quickly dashed, however, when it turned out that the heat of the decaying trash below ground was a little too hot. Maintaining good snow coverage was just too much hassle and money, and the nascent resort soon closed for good, although not before this awesome ad was aired.

Not that all was lost.

Now you can golf on ol’ Mount Trashmore – renamed the “Riverview Highlands” – and a DTE Energy Electric Company subsidiary is currently harnessing it as a source of “biomass energy”. Enough power is generated, apparently, to light up thousands of homes. Which proves, I suppose, that trash isn’t always a bad thing.


(Photo by J. Albert Bowden II.)

Heck, in Virginia Beach, Mount Trashmore is a park that has emerged as something of a minor tourist attraction. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, they’re running a 5K upon the summit of their Mount Trashmore this September 13th in an effort to “reclaim” the mountain.

You’d almost think we have an affinity for trash.


2 thoughts on “Mount Trashmore

  1. I’ve read that it’s possible to dig up a newspaper in a landfill from fifty years ago and read it like it’s hot off the presses. The fact that landfills are only meant to STORE our trash–rather than eventually decompose it–is actually quite depressing.

    Then again, that commercial is absolutely glorious. There’s always a silver lining.

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