THREE FORKS — A Three Forks man says he’s trying to encourage all Montanans to live every day as if it were Earth Day.
On Interstate 90, just outside of Three Forks, you might find Steve Colberg along a two-mile stretch that begins at the banks of the Madison River and ends just past the Three Forks exit. He spends his time quietly reflecting and picking up litter as the loud echoes of semi-trucks roar by.
“Like, my mom is probably like, what in the world are you doing, where my dad thinks I'm—he's like, oh what a great boy, Steve,” Colberg said.
For Colberg, a lifelong Montanan, it's a way to give back to his community and honor his parents.
“When my parents passed away, my dad always told me to always be involved in public service,” said Colberg.
He decided to adopt a section of Interstate 90 from mile marker 279 to 277 for his parents, Maurice (Maury) Remington Colberg Jr. and Patricia (Pat) Stewart Colberg.
“I had to put it in their name so that I would get out there because if it was in my name, I probably wouldn't get out there,” Colberg said.
DIGITAL EXTRA: Steve Colberg talks about cleaning highway to honor his parents
As cars and semi-trucks roll past Colberg, his neon yellow vest stands out among the patchy grass.
“It's great because I get to come out here a lot and think about them,” he said.
As you pick up the pieces of cardboard, beer cans, and water bottles—whether empty or with an unwanted surprise—you almost forget the sound as you take in the sights around you.
“It's a beautiful place, right? Tobacco Roots, Elkhorns, Bridgers, Belts, Spanish Peaks. I mean, they are all right here. I mean, this is the best place you could pick up litter, probably,” said Colberg.
Hoping to keep a stretch of his home state clean.
“It's just one guy doing a two-mile stretch of highway."
He wants all of Montana to remain pristine.
"Being a Montana guy, feeling like you're picking up a piece of Montana, it's a good thing,” Colberg said.
Colberg also hopes to let people know that a small piece can have a large impact.
“If you're one person and there’s 50,000 people here, and you throw one piece of litter out, that's 50,000 pieces of litter,” he said.
Colberg says he hopes to get others involved in public service.
“I'd really like to get kids involved. I think if they understood the impact—it's a huge impact," he said. "Anybody can do it and I wish more people did it."
Colberg reflects as he wraps up his final bags and looks back on his section of the highway.
“[I think it's] probably not a huge impact, but then I can look, and we just picked up this entire section and it looks a lot better than it did when we started,” says Colberg.
You can visit the Montana Department of Transportation website for more information on the Adopt-a-Highway Program: https://www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/hwy-adoption.aspx