Enjoying the Yampa River this weekend? Consider giving back at cleanup day next week, too | SteamboatToday.com

Enjoying the Yampa River this weekend? Consider giving back at cleanup day next week, too

Scott Franz

Tubers, boogey boarders and sunbathers hang out on the Yampa River in downtown Steamboat Springs on a summer day.

River advocates are planning to give the Yampa River one its biggest cleanings ever next week following one of the busiest tubing and river recreation weekends of the summer in Steamboat Springs.

And if free pizza from Soda Creek Pizza and some goodwill aren't enough to motivate residents to walk the banks of the Yampa on the morning of July 8, consider last year's crew found 54 unopened beers and 57 golf balls.

Friends of the Yampa and its local partners are coordinating the river cleanup at three different locations, stretching from the Steamboat area all the way downstream to Craig.

New this year will be a cleanup occurring near Yampa River State Park between Hayden and Craig.

Last year's cleanup day, which occurred at the same time of year, removed a staggering amount of trash from the river. More than 70 volunteers fanned out and picked up 324 aluminum cans, 246 cigarette butts (mostly near downtown Steamboat), 231 disposable water bottles, 115 flip flops, 66 plastic bags, 57 golf balls, 54 unopened beers, 39 T-shirts, 25 liquor bottles, 20 pairs of sunglasses and 21 glass bottles.

And those were only the items that came in bulk.

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There were also some cringe-worthy finds.

Volunteers pulled out two pairs of underwear, a wooden post filled with nails and six assorted pieces of heavy and rusted metal from the riverbanks. Strangely, one computer monitor also was found.

"Of course, the river can't clean up itself, so we do it for her," Friends of the Yampa's Kent Vertrees said. "We all need clean water, and river cleanups are a great way to give back to the community."

Vertrees said not all the river trash can be blamed on the thousands of tubers who float down the Yampa.

But with the Fourth of July tubing "party" in Steamboat getting bigger and bigger, the organization sees the post holiday weekend as a good date to schedule a cleanup and get a handle on the trash in the river.

Many tubers who hop into the river this weekend will inevitably become litterbugs, even if they don’t intend to.

The dozens of flip flops, unopened beers and sunglasses likely lost in bumpy rapids show that.

River users can minimize their chances of becoming litterbugs by not entering the river with loose items and clothing and remembering not to lean back when going into a rapid.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

•The Steamboat Springs clean up will be from 9:00 am-noon, meeting at the Gazebo at Howelsen Hill, near the ball fields just across the river at 9th street footbridge. After arriving at the Gazebo, volunteers will be matched with a location that they can either walk, bike or drive to. Wear adequate footwear for walking along the river bank, bring gloves, and other clothes that match the weather. Trash bags will be provided. A post clean up pizza party will occur at Little Toots Park starting at noon sponsored by Soda Creek Pizza. Call or email Kent Vertrees, 970-846-7933 or kent@friendsoftheyampa.com if you need more info.
•The Yampa River State Park clean up will start at 9 a.m. at the main Yampa River State Park office downstream of Hayden, CO (6185 US-40, Hayden, CO 81639). This will be a float type clean up in boats guided by Yampa River State Park staff. Four to six volunteers are needed to help them. Please contact Jacob Brey to let him know you are interested at 970-276-2062.
•The Craig-based clean up will be also a floating-based starting at Dorsey State Wildlife Area located at mile market 99 on U.S. 40. Please contact Robert Schenck (970-456-8761) ahead of time if you are planning on joining this group. A post clean up BBQ will be held at Loudy Simpson Park afterward. Call Robert and the Parrotheads for details on timing of this clean up.