Letter to the Editor: River our responsibility
July 3, 2015
I will try to make this letter short and simple. I initially posted a nasty letter to tubers on Facebook, but then I realized that, truth be told, we are all responsible for trashing the river. As the season has progressed, so has the amount of trash on the Yampa's banks.
It started this spring, down at Fetcher's Pond when I was lugging my kayak down to the river and my foot just barely missed an entire box of fishing hooks that a careless fisherman had dropped on the ground and either didn't notice or didn't bother to pick up.
Fishing hooks scattered everywhere. Imagine if your dog or your child stumbled upon this box of fishing hooks rather than an attentive river steward.
As the high water came and went, we picked up a few items along the way that most likely just got washed down the river and onto the banks — a few stray beer cans, a couple water bottles, a canoe that someone abandoned along with all of their personal belongings. My boyfriend even picked up a full-sized tarp at one point (complete with river stench) and carried it on the bow of his kayak until he was able to deliver it to the nearest trash can.
Now that tubing season is in full swing, we've noticed trash around every bend, nestled next to rocks or hidden in the bushes in the hopes that maybe no one will even know it was left behind.
Empty beer cans less than 100 feet away from recycling bins, tubes that were abandoned along the way and have now become entangled in impossible willows, clothes (socks and underwear (gross), T-shirts, shorts), shoes, you name it, it's probably on the river right now.
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Mother Nature is not your mother, folks. It's our responsibility to take care of her, not only for ourselves but also for future generations.
Also, another thing to take into consideration is that this river doesn't stop in Steamboat Springs. Our beautiful, wild, peaceful Yampa flows all the way down to Echo Park, where it meets the Green River, and the Green River carries it all the way down to Canyonlands National Park, where it meets the Colorado River.
The Colorado River is responsible for a major portion of the meat and produce that you buy in the grocery store, so you are, in effect, eating your own filth.
Routt County is such a community-driven environment; I know that if we all work together, we can put a stop to this type of behavior without having more regulations on the river. Please, if you're out and about and see a stray beer can or a T-shirt that's been drying on a rock for three days, or anything else, please, please, please take the time to pick it up.
Mother Nature will thank you with another amazing day in this beautiful world.