The annular eclipse was a great accompaniment for volunteer work at the Uncompahgre River Gorge on a beautiful autumn Saturday morning last week. Nearly 25 volunteers came out to the Ouray Ice Park to pick up litter, remove noxious weeds, and make repairs on park facilities. Our generous sponsors helped make the event a success – with funding from the City of Ouray, great giveaways from Alpine Bank (and the Ice Park), delicious sandwich lunches from Ouray Grocery, and beer coupons from Ouray Brewery!
Volunteers removed about four full bags of trash containing plastic piping shards, cans, bottles, metal strips, plastic lids, Chevrolet hubcap center, hair ties, cigarette butts, socks, zip ties, chapstick, clips, and much more. Inside the gorge, intrepid climbers removed metal cable, an ice tool, carpet, car parts, pipe, and other big debris.
Above and inside the gorge, an energetic crew pulled and cut out noxious weeds. UWP Board Member and plant knowledge master Mary Menz estimates that nearly 1.5 million seeds were removed, slowing the spread of invasive species like common mullein, common burdock, and common tansy.
After the work, volunteers enjoyed a variety of sandwiches, chips, and desserts supplied by Ouray Grocery. Plus, everyone received lots of giveaways including stickers, sunglasses, socks, shopping bags, hats, and shirts from Alpine Bank, Ouray Ice Park, and UWP, as well as beer coupons from Ouray Brewery. Then, the day finished up with a quick tour along the the edge of the Ice Park, and lots of smiles and feelings of satisfaction.