Adopt a Highway

Volunteers remove tons of trash and recyclables while keeping roadsides looking clean and green for state residents and visitors

Once the spring snow finally melts, motorists can expect to see Wisconsin Adopt-a-Highway volunteers working along state highways to collect a winter’s worth of accumulated trash. Last year, Wisconsin’s 2,780 Adopt-a-Highway groups collected 165 tons of trash and recyclables. County highway crews gather the bagged materials.

“Wisconsin’s Adopt-a-Highway workers provide an important public service, support tourism and economic development by keeping our roadsides looking attractive for both state residents and visitors,” said Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Dave Ross. “We ask drivers to be cautious and alert at all times – especially when they see people working along our roadsides.”

Of the 11,800 miles of state highway in Wisconsin, about 4,125 miles (about one-third of the system) are still available for adoption, meaning there’s plenty of room for interested volunteers. Groups interested in adopting a state highway segment can find more information on the WisDOT website.

Adopt-a-Highway workers are asked to clean-up their assigned two-mile state highway segment at least three times per year. WisDOT furnishes safety vests, highway worker signs, a safety training video, trash bags, and two permanent signs identifying the group. Each group must provide one adult supervisor for every five or six volunteers. Groups do not work in dangerous areas like medians, bridges or steep slopes.