The Yampa River: A trove of trash and treasures

A team of volunteers works to clean up the Yampa River throughout the morning on July 9, 2022.
Katy Pickens/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Friends of the Yampa organizes a river cleanup each year. What did they pull out of the water this time?

Striving to bring the community together and take care of Steamboat’s natural resources, a team of volunteers and organizers worked from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 9, to pick trash out of the Yampa River.

During the seventh annual event, volunteers spanned 15 different sections of the river, trash bags and sticks to skewer garbage in hand. Together, they collected a diverse haul — loads of food wrappers, as well as cans, shoes and even some paddles.

“We love our creeks, rivers and streams for many reasons, and by picking up all the trash alongside, next to and in the river, we play our part in keeping the riverine ecosystem clean and tidy,” Friends of the Yampa says on the group’s website.

The nonprofit group partnered with the City of Steamboat Springs and Storm Peak Brewing to make the cleanup happen for the seventh year running, and the trash that was collected was put in a pile at Little Toots Park.

“There is less trash than most years, but maybe that’s not a bad thing,” said Jenny Frithsen from Friends of the Yampa.

Frithsen added that she hoped this meant there is less garbage in the river in general.

Some of the stranger finds this year included a portion of a dashboard, part of a car axle, a bluetooth speaker and a loose wire.

There was also plenty of water sports equipment, from paddles to dry bags. Carey said that her son even managed to find a piece of his paddle board that had broken off in the river earlier this season.

Volunteers celebrated their hard work with a pizza lunch in the park after they finished scouring the river.

The Friends of the Yampa is also putting on the third annual Yampa Headwaters Fishing Fundraiser and Poker Run from Friday, July 15, to Aug. 14. For more information about the cleanup and upcoming fundraisers, go to

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