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The 32nd Annual Clean Up Green Up took place Saturday, May 20. The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) hosts this event along with Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA). Jessica Downing of GARNA reported that more than 175 volunteers, from Buena Vista, Northrop, Poncha Springs, Salida, Howard, and more participated in the day-long event.

Susan Roebuck photo

Early Saturday morning, volunteers wearing sunhats, work boots and gloves gathered at the AHRA visitors center on Sackett and G Streets in Salida. GARNA and AHRA personnel began handing out trash bags. Throughout the morning more volunteers arrived and dispersed to their chosen locations.

Clean Up Green Up emphasizes cleanup along the Arkansas River, but includes its entire watershed. All the landscape we see around us is Arkansas River watershed. In Salida, volunteers worked at Frantz Lake, along the Little River, beside the irrigation ditches and trails, as well as along the river.

Salida-Area Parks Open Spaces and Trails (SPOT) Participates in Clean Up Green Up

Salida-Area Parks Open Spaces and Trails (SPOT) manages trail adopter volunteers for all sections of trails, who worked all over Salida on Saturday.

Saturday, May 20 was Clean Up Green Up day in Chaffee County. .Susan Roebuck photo

Dave Mulligan and his family adopted the Monarch Spur Trail between Third and First Streets. Mulligan said his grandkids regularly bike the trail and sometimes stop to pick up trash.

On Clean Up Green Up day, Mulligan and other volunteers spruced up the section, pulling trash from the irrigation ditch, raking out organic refuse, and clearing the section of dog waste.

Most people do clean up after their dogs, but not all. Dog waste stations are placed at either end of this trail section.

Farther away, up and down along the Arkansas, volunteers spread out from locations as far away as Granite upriver and Pinnacle Rock downriver. Volunteers near Salida left trash bags for later pickup by AHRA. Buena Vista’s Public Works department collected the trash on the north end of the county.

The 32nd Clean Up Green Up helps keep the river healthy for fish, wildlife, and humans. With the 2023 Clean Up Green Up event now history, the pedestrian trails in our communities look beautiful, and ready for the 75th FIBArk, kicking off on June 17.

Featured image: A Colorado State Parks Arkansas Headwater Recreation Area pickup truck carries one of several loads of trash that was collected along the river by volunteers. Susan Roebuck photo