500+ people seek to clean up trash in Clear Creek Canyon

Jeffco Open Space hosts large volunteer event in celebration of National Public Lands Day on Sept. 28

Posted 9/18/19

Allan Reid, who has lived in Jefferson County for about 50 years, identifies with the saying that goes like this: If not me, who? And if not now, when? “I’m retired,” said the 74-year-old …

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500+ people seek to clean up trash in Clear Creek Canyon

Jeffco Open Space hosts large volunteer event in celebration of National Public Lands Day on Sept. 28

Posted

Allan Reid, who has lived in Jefferson County for about 50 years, identifies with the saying that goes like this: If not me, who? And if not now, when?

“I’m retired,” said the 74-year-old volunteer with Jefferson County Open Space. “But National Public Lands Day is an opportunity for everybody to give back.”

Jefferson County Open Space will be hosting a large-scale volunteer clean-up opportunity on Sept. 28 in Clear Creek Canyon Park in celebration of National Public Lands Day. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will be closing U.S. 6, the road that runs through Clear Creek Canyon, so that more than 500 volunteers can participate in stream bank and roadside trash collection, habitat restoration and erosion control through a 13-mile section of the canyon.

“We think that Clear Creek Canyon Park offers a unique challenge for the county,” Matt Robbins, Open Space’s community connections manager, said in a press release. “As we continue to make improvements to the Peaks to Plains Trail, it has become apparent that it needs some love.”

Reid has been volunteering with Open Space since 2014 and currently volunteers as a park patrol and on trail building and maintenance about twice a week. This is in addition to all the time he spends recreating — hiking, mostly — and enjoying the trails, he said.

“People have to recreate and get away from the city. It’s critical to have that environment,” Reid said. But “the trails and parks don’t magically maintain themselves. Weekend projects are ideal for people who work fulltime.”

According to CDOT, about 10,000 vehicles travel though Clear Creek Canyon daily, Robbins said. So lots of debris and trash ends up making its way into the river, and eventually into Golden and beyond, Robbins said.

He added that a lot of people will likely be surprised how much trash is collected during the few hours of cleanup on National Public Lands Day.

But, Robbins said, “everyone will benefit.”

Getting the trash out of the water will help with water quality, Robbins said, as well as making the canyon more esthetically beautiful for all that passes through it.

Steve Williams of Arvada has had an appreciation for the outdoors ever since his childhood, he said. Today, Williams enjoys climbing, hiking, mountain biking and bird watching, and it’s not uncommon to see him enjoying any one of those activities in Jeffco Open Space at least once a week, he said.

Williams has been a volunteer with Open Space for about 10 years and does trail building and maintenance, and raptor monitoring.

He believes its important to give back to the outdoors because of all the pleasures it brings him.

“We only have a finite amount of (open space) land,” Williams said. “We need to take care of what we have.”

The main part of the event is a volunteer cleanup effort in Clear Creek Canyon Park, which is located off U.S. 6, west of Golden. This part will start in the morning and last about three or four hours. Families are welcome, and there will be work appropriate available for children as young as age 6.

Following the volunteer cleanup of the canyon, everybody is invited to reconvene at about noon to 2 p.m. for a celebration on the lawn of the Jeffco human services building, 900 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden. The celebration is free to attend and will include food and drink, including beer for volunteers who are age 21+; live music; and an expo featuring local businesses and nonprofits, and education booths.

Registration for the cleanup effort in Clear Creek Canyon Park is open now. It is recommended to register early, as there is a cap of 550 volunteers. To register, visit offero.jeffco.us.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will be closing U.S. 6, through Clear Creek Canyon, during the cleanup efforts. Visit www.codot.gov for information on closures and detour route details.

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