Volunteers remove an estimated 1,500 pounds of trash from the Blue River

Items of trash were removed by volunteers from Colorado's Blue River earlier this month

The Blue River flows through the center of Silverthorne. (Photo courtesy of Town of Silverthorne)
The Blue River flows through the center of Silverthorne.
Town of Silverthorne/Courtesy photo

A kayak. A truck bed topper. Shopping carts. A John Mellencamp cassette tape. A jar of chamois cream.

These were among the items that more than 150 volunteers removed from the Blue River at the annual River Clean-up Festival hosted by the Blue River Watershed Group on Sunday, Sept. 17.

While the total weight of the trash removed at the festival is still being talloied, Blue River Watershed Group conservatively estimates volunteers removed 1,500 pounds of trash, according to Vanessa Logsdon, the nonprofit’s advancement director.

“These objects can pose hazards for wildlife, recreationalists, and negatively affect water quality,” Logsdon said in an email. “People love this event in particular because it brings community members together all across the county to work towards the common goal of removing trash and helping keep the Blue River a healthy, vibrant ecosystem for both humans and wildlife.”

Blue River Watershed Group is a nonprofit that aims to help promote, protect and restore the Blue River, its tributaries and the surrounding watershed. Established in 2004, the nonprofit has been hosting the Clean-up Festival since 2019, except in years impacted by the pandemic, Logsdon said.

The most common items cleaned up by volunteers include aluminum beer cans, glass beer bottles, plastic bags such as chip bags and plastic water or soda bottles, Logsdon said. Last year, the group removed more than 2,000 pounds of trash.

“This really highlights the work we still have to do to encourage people to throw trash in receptacles and recycle appropriate items when possible,” Logsdon said.

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