A Successful River Cleanup on the St. Vrain (Lyons, CO)
On Sunday, nearly 50 people gathered on the banks of the St. Vrain River to pick up trash from the water and the shoreline. We started the day off with Hotbox Roasters coffee and donuts, and a few words about River Stewardship – the common cause that brought us all together. As the locals know all too well, the Town of Lyons was devastated during the 2013 floods that changed the river channel, eroded the banks, and swept houses into the mighty St. Vrain. Although much progress has been made to restore the river and its surrounding community, the Town of Lyons is still recovering, with segments of the shoreline closed off for restoration and trash tangled up in the banks. However small, our cleanup efforts have taken the St. Vrain one step closer to its clean, healthy nature.
With the help of our partners at the CAN’d Aid Foundation, Avid4 Adventure, and Team Colorado Whitewater Racing Club, we left the St. Vrain River looking cleaner than ever. We split into two land crews and one river crew to scavenge for trash on the banks and waters of the St. Vrain as it runs from Apple Valley through the Town of Lyons. We found bedframes, rusty nails, lawn chairs, car doors, plastic water bottles, candy wrappers, fast food containers, and it doesn’t stop there. Our findings are likely a combination of leftover debris from the floods, illegal waste dumping along the river, and built up trash from years of careless passers-by.
The best part was the community’s immediate reaction to our cleanup efforts. At one point, we left our boats to gather trash on the bank and the landowner across the river raised his head from his garden and called over to us, “Thank you for all your hard work! You boaters are awesome – come back anytime!”. Moments later, we passed under a group of kids that were zip-lining across the river and they shouted, “Thank you for cleaning the river!”. It was these moments that reminded us that Lyons truly is a river community, and the river is why many of its community members have chosen to live here.
Thank you to all those that came out for the river cleanup! American Whitewater depends on our affiliate clubs, members, and dedicated volunteers in order to tackle our many River Stewardship projects.
Abstract Photo Credit: John Putnam
Content Photo Credit: Avid4 Adventure