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With wildfire danger always on the minds of Chaffee County residents, Chaffee Recreation Adopters will host a cleanup event in partnership with Game Trail residents on Wednesday, July 27, in the North Cottonwood Creek drainage west of Buena Vista.

Event participants will clean up public recreation areas along County Road 365, the main access to the Silver Creek, Harvard Lakes, and North Cottonwood Creek trailheads.

Volunteers with Chaffee Recreation Adopters worked with Chaffee County Fire Protection District and Chaffee Recreation Rangers to clean up 160 campsites in the Browns Creek Recreation Area, removing more than 2,000 pounds of ashes and trash on Monday, May 16, 2022.

The event will focus on about 50 vehicle-accessed campsites, where surveys completed last year show trash and excessively large campfire rings at many of the sites.

North Cottonwood Creek is the source for Buena Vista’s water supply, and the drainage has high wildfire danger due to dense and dry forest conditions.

“The number and condition of campfire rings is a concern, so we will dismantle the inappropriate ones and clean out others to make sure visitors can have safe campfires,” said Chaffee Rec Adopters Event Coordinator Jessica Downing.

The event is the third Chaffee Rec Adopters cleanup this summer. Volunteers removed 3,500 pounds of campfire ash and trash from campsites in the Browns Creek Recreation Area and along the Buena Vista River Road in the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.

The group of Game Trail residents formed an Adopters group to improve and steward national forest lands near their subdivision for the benefit of all users. In addition to popular trailheads and camping, County Road 365 is the main access for Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia — two of Colorado’s Fourteeners — and Harvard, Bear and Kroenke lakes in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. on July 27 at the Game Trail Mail Center on Great Peaks Drive. Each volunteer is asked to bring a 5-gallon bucket, shovel, and wheelbarrow. If possible, bring work gloves and a water bottle. Sturdy boots, long pants, and long sleeves are recommended. Trash bags, a water cooler and packaged snacks will be provided.

Contact Downing at with questions about the event.

Chaffee County Fire Protection District will provide a dump trailer to pick up trash and campfire ashes that are collected in biodegradable bags. Chaffee Rec Rangers will assist volunteers from the U.S. Forest Service Salida Ranger District. The Rangers and Adopters programs were initiated by the Chaffee Rec Council, which oversees the implementation of the county’s outdoor recreation management plan to ensure quality natural resources and visitor experiences as population and visitation grow.

The mission of the Chaffee Recreation Adopters is to help the community care for all recreation lands in the county. Volunteers use the Chaffee Rec Collector mobile app to assess lands, report problem areas to management agencies, and take action such as trash pick-up. Adopters also provide more presence in the county’s popular recreation areas. The program is funded by Chaffee Common Ground, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau.