by Lauren Nance
The 11th Annual South Platte River Cleanup was held on Saturday April 23, 2016. This was one of the biggest years yet with a total of 221 volunteers who participated, including 195 adults and 26 children! Channel 9News even came to check out what the commotion was all about!
The event started in the morning over at Florida Avenue off South Platte River Drive. Volunteers began arriving around 11:00 a.m. to register, grab a free t-shirt, and unload their gear. There were rafts stretched out along the South Platte River bank over 100 yards! Everyone was bustling about loading and rigging rafts with dogs and children running around. Kayakers were antsy for the day to begin and were surfing the wave at the put-in. Participants were able to take advantage of free parking at the Downtown Aquarium next to the take-out and free shuttles in the morning donated by GeoTours, Nissan Valley Subaru, and kind Colorado Whitewater members.
Everyone finally started heading down the river around noon. Rafts, duckies, and kayaks all made their way down the river stopping along the banks to pick up trash along the way. Shopping carts, baby strollers, bike parts, blankets, and lots of plastic bags, bottles, and Styrofoam were found along the banks and in the river. Participants also ran some big class 3 rapids along the way that provided quite a thrill!
Everyone had a great time running the river, and all in all, around six truck loads or between one to two tons of trash was collected from the South Platte River! Our amazing volunteers took advantage of the shopping carts collected in the river to transport trash from rafts arriving at the take-out. We also had a smart volunteer bring some pallets on wheels to roll the rafts up the sidewalks to all the cars.
Once everyone unloaded their trash and packed up their gear, they began to head over the Denver Beer Company. Denver Beer Company donated their private room for our event, and every participant received two free beers (or root beer for the kids) thanks to Down River Equipment and Confluence Kayaks! Pictures of the day were shown on the projector as people shared their stories from the day. Freebies were handed out to those who found unique items like the shopping carts and bicycle parts. The South Platte River is in the heart of the City of Denver, and we all did our part to make a big difference to improve the health and quality of the river corridor. As kayakers and river enthusiasts, we all love our rivers, and conservation of our resources is one of the most important things we can do to protect our rivers for years to come!Thanks again to all our sponsors!!!
Urban Drainage and Flood Control District
Down River Equipment
Pete Bellande REMAX of Cherry Creek
Denver Beer Company