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This summer I picked up trash out of 3 different rivers in Colorado. Here is the low down on each clean up:

St vrain creek
Lyons, CO
Kevin Parker
Arn Hayden
Matt booth
Rebecca Hayden
Katie Fankhouser (me)

This one was right here in my hometown. I got the guys that taught me how to kayak and other local river folk together to paddle through town in search of trash. We bobbled down the St.Vrain getting out periodically to walk the shores and fill our bags. It was pleasantly surprising to see that our river was not really all that polluted. The community is generally pretty good about not littering. Actually, most of what we found were things that some people wouldn’t even think of as trash. We found pieces of intertubes, tennis balls, the occasional soda can and filled almost a whole bag of shoes. I don’t think many people realize that losing a flip flop to the current isn’t just a damper on their day but also a pollutant to the water way. So do your feet and your local river a favor and buy some water shoes.

Roaring Fork
River Fest
Glenwood Springs, CO
Our group- Kellogg Show + me
and tons of other volunteers

This was a much bigger event than my little hometown clean up. As part of this year’s River Fest in Glenwood Springs I joined the Kellogg Show on their raft as we cleaned up a section of the Roaring Fork river. Glenwood, being over 4 times the size of Lyons, was a bit more involved than just picking up old shoes. We spent most of our time walking along the river and up the banks, only really ever meeting the raft for a new bag or a drink of water. On this section we found a lot of metal like rebar, car parts, and old fencing as well as your typical plastic bottles and wrappers.

If you are feeling determined you can snorkel…
Gore creek
Vail, CO
Kenny Kellogg
Dally Kellogg
Cardy Kellogg
Katie Fankhouser (me)

What started as a search for a lost cell phone, ended up being an impromptu river clean up. At the Mountain Games in June, my friend Kenny lost his phone in Gore Creek so a couple months later we came back to see if we could find it. It didn’t take us long to realize that this wasn’t going to happen. But we figured, since we were standing in the middle of Vail Village in drysuits and goggles, that we might as well pull out any other trash we find. So we ended up spending an hour or two in the freezing snowmelt water picking golf balls and hotel keys up off the bottom of the river.

You don’t have to be into snorkeling or river sports to do your part in keeping our waterways clean. I encourage you to reach out to your own communities to see if they have any events you could volunteer for. And if they don’t, start your own. The river is my playground and my happy place and some even say that rivers are “the veins of the earth”; it is so important that we all do what we can to preserve them.