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The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) and the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) have announced they will be celebrating Colorado Public Lands Day on Saturday, May 15, with the Annual Arkansas River Cleanup-Greenup. 

Starting at 8:30 a.m. May 15, more than 200 volunteers will clean trash and debris from the banks of the Arkansas River from Leadville to Cañon City and beyond, preparing for a busy summer. The cleanup also coincides with the start of the spring snowmelt and runoff. 

The AHRA started the annual cleanup in 1992 in partnership with American Rivers and the National River Cleanup, The first-ever cleanup-greenup, held May 9, 1992, earned an Honorary Proclamation by then-Governor Roy Romer as “Arkansas River Cleanup Day.” 

Volunteers can pick up a commemorative pin, gloves, and trash bags that morning at registration tables at the AHRA Visitors Center in Salida or the Buena Vista Community Center, or they can register in advance online

American Rivers, a non-profit group, will provide trash bags for the event. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will have a large trash trailer at the Touch-a-Truck event at the Vandaveer Ranch that same day, or bagged trash can be deposited behind the entrance sign to any AHRA-managed recreation sites for pickup by AHRA staff. Volunteers should adhere to counties’ COVID-19 precaution guidelines throughout the event. 

A volunteer picnic will also be held from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.. at the Vandaveer Ranch, where prizes will be awarded for the Largest Piece of Trash, the Strangest Piece of Trash, the Most Upcycle-Worthy Piece of Trash, and the People’s Choice. Photos of entries should be submitted to

Anyone who completes at least 48 hours of logged CPW volunteer work within a 12-month period can earn a free volunteer pass. Create a profile and log hours for this opportunity on the CPW CUGU volunteer site at Contact the AHRA at 719-539-7289 or for more information, or visit their office at 307 West Sackett Avenue in Salida.