top of page

From our Founder: Steve Fleming

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

The Onion Bag Project

*Waterway Conservation by Paddle for Heroes

As part of a new conservation project, Paddle for Heroes has started placing Onion Litter Bag Boxes along access points in the Muskingum Watershed District.

The goal is to simply provide an easy and feasible way for paddlers to dispose of their own trash, while keeping our waterways clean. They currently have boxes placed at every access point along the Kokosing River, Greer Landing and The Bridge of Dreams on the Mohican River; as well as several along the Walhonding, Muskingum and Tuscarawas Rivers. They have seen a drastic reduction in litter on the Kokosing River already due to the boxes being placed at convenient access points.

Paddlers are encouraged to grab a bag before they launch their canoes, kayaks or tubes and tie it to their paddle craft. In the unlikely event of a roll over, trash and belongings will not become litter. Having boxes placed at every access point gives paddlers the opportunity to return them when they are finished paddling for the day, or they may keep them as part of their river gear. Paddle for Hero asks everyone to “carry in/carry out” and dispose of their trash in the proper receptacle.

Founder, and President Steve Fleming first learned of the use of onion bags, when he paddled the Buffalo National River in 2019. The National Park service does not allow plastic trash bags on the river therefore; they require you to use onion litter bags. “The outfitter we used to spot our vehicles gave each member in our group an onion litter bag. He then proceeded to explain, when you are on a river with small rapids, there is a higher chance of paddlers flipping their watercraft. Unlike plastic bags, which tend to rip open and become litter; onion bags when secured properly to your craft will not rip open and spill trash into the water.”, stated Fleming.

Fleming paddled the Sturgeon River in Northern Michigan that same year and noticed a local non-profit by the name of Sturgeon River Sweepers. This nonprofit was already utilizing onion bag boxes at various access points. Fleming states, “I ended up reaching out to them and participating in one of their clean ups. They praised how much they kept litter down from previous years.” Fleming then proceeded to contact Knox County Park District Director Lori Totman. Mr. Fleming and Ms. Totman discussed this project in length. It was discovered through these conversations that Paddle for Heroes and the Knox County Park District were in complete agreement regarding the placement of onion bag boxes at all Knox County Park District river access points.

This collaboration and support is a testimony to the care and love of our waterways, not only by Paddle for Heroes, but our county park systems as well. Please consider becoming a sponsor and partner in this project by contacting for more information.

105 views0 comments


bottom of page