An enthusiastic mix of longtime residents and newcomers joined forces Saturday, Oct. 5 to clean up their local Purgatoire River for the benefit of the entire community. The group of 46 community members cleaned up more than 120 bags worth of trash along approximately one mile of river from Safeway to Linden Street. Cleanup efforts focused on cleaning trash out of the river as well as along the Trinidad River Walk trail and from behind the Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken facility on the north side of the river. All registered participants of the event received a free Purgatoire River Cleanup Day T-shirt and free lunch and snacks. All cleanup gear including trash bags and gloves were provided for attendees as well.
The event kicked off with a host of educational speakers discussing new and upcoming river restoration and recreation enhancement efforts as well as upcoming economic development efforts along the river. Speakers included Ryan Parker with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Howard Lackey of Trout Unlimited, Karl Gabrielson of Downtown Trinidad Development Group, and Julie Knudson of the Purgatoire Watershed Partnership.
A wide range of trash was discovered along the river from basketballs to tires, but was mostly comprised of small plastic trash and other difficult to degrade materials such as plastic grocery bags and fast food waste. Remains of abandoned homeless camps and stashed materials were also cleaned up. It is important to note that City of Trinidad employees also conducted a significant amount of cleanup along the river prior to the event and continue to work to keep the river clean.
A group of participants at Saturday’s event became so inspired by seeing the river cleaned up through their efforts that they are forming a monthly river cleanup group to clean up trash along the river and then head to a local restaurant for snacks and drinks. Additionally, community members will be attending the City of Trinidad Police Department’s Citizens Academy and will soon begin river walk patrols to increase safety and support for community members along the Trinidad River Walk.
The Purgatoire Watershed Partnership organized this event. To get involved in the monthly river cleanups or river walk patrols or to just learn more about future river events and projects contact Julie Knudson of the Purgatoire Watershed Partnership at 970-420-1915 or email@example.com.