Report from the May 15 Uncompahgre River Cleanup in Montrose

From Cleanup Organizer Melanie Rees:

Thank You Community!

The May 15th cleanup* of the Uncompahgre River corridor was a smashing success. The community turned out in a big way – 74 volunteers!!! We accomplished much:

·         Cleaned up garbage throughout 1.5 miles of the river corridor through the south end of town, creating a mound of trash that measured 9’ wide, 15’ long and over 4’ high and included tires, barbed wire, plastic of all types, and many unidentifiable pieces of metal.

·         Completed several trail improvements — filled in holes in the trail from subsidence, cut trees that had fallen or grown into the path, pruned overgrowth, and re-established a connector trail.

·         Collected many feet of fishing line from around Chipeta Lake that threatened our wildlife.

Thank you to our partners in this Colorado Public Lands Day celebration: City of Montrose, Montrose Surf and Cycle, Ed’s Fly Shop, Mayfly Outdoors and the Colorado Mountain Club.  Many other regional organizations helped with promotion and provided volunteers – Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership, the Gunnison Gorge Group of Trout Unlimited, Audubon, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and the Montrose Rotary. Two national groups provided valuable technical assistance – American Rivers and American Whitewater.

Much gratitude also goes to the 10 crew leaders who kept the work on track, the friends who baked delicious treats, the folks who showed up with donuts, a 1st aid station very well equipped for injuries that never happened, an efficient/clean/safe sign-in operation, and the folks who could not make it but helped promote the cleanup in the weeks before.

Our diverse group of volunteers included a family of six from Oregon, a family of five from Crested Butte, a woman who had shoulder surgery just two weeks before, and a couple who picked up trash from their canoe. I hope everyone who shared two hours of their Saturday morning loving our river had fun, felt good to care for our public lands, and was proud to give back to our community.

Feeling fortunate to live in Montrose, Melanie Rees,

*This was not a UWP event but we wanted to share this report to recognize our partner’s efforts that made a big impact in the watershed. Thank you so much to Melanie Rees for her dedication to making her first community cleanup an amazing success.