The Friends of the Dillon Ranger District cleanup day kicks off the start to a summer filled with opportunities to get involved in projects ranging from tree planting and trail restoration to ranger patrol training in Summit County forestlands.
The nonprofit’s volunteer cleanup day on Sunday is a way to keep the momentum flowing after Saturday’s town cleanup, or for those unable to attend a town cleanup, it’s a great opportunity to get out and give back, said FDRD’s program manager Sarah Slaton.
The cleanup will take place along Swan Mountain Road, which is surrounded by forestland.
“Swan Mountain is such a heavily used road,” Slaton said. “In the winter people throw trash out and the next day it gets covered with snow, and we just don’t realize how much stuff is out there.”
Volunteers have found hats, ski gloves, light bulbs and even money while picking up trash. The nonprofit rewards the volunteer who finds the coolest piece of trash with a FDRD ‘swag bag.’
Community members interested in participating should meet at the entrance to the Prospector Campground between Keystone and Frisco on Swan Mountain Road at 9 a.m. Volunteers will be treated to a light breakfast before heading off, and will meet back around noon for snacks and refreshments.
Friends of the Dillon Ranger District employees say they hope the cleanup day will serve as a jumping-off point for people to get involved in activities throughout the season.
“We start with big communitywide projects to get them stoked and keep them coming back,” Slaton said.
Kate Zander is the organizations new youth programs and field coordinator. She said there are ways for everyone from ages 6-76 to get involved in projects this summer.
“There are a lot of different options for people,” she said. “We have a mix of trail projects, ecological projects, restoration and cleanup projects,” she said. “We are also partnering with a lot of different organizations, so I’m excited to build those relationships.”
Slaton said it doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are, when you come together with others to work on forest projects, it forms a common bond.
“You are all giving back in a way that is really rewarding, and at the end of the day you can say, ‘We did that,’” Slaton said.