Annual river cleanup nets television set, cheap beer, even a computer hard drive

Orianna Rubin, right, throws a bag of trash as Mike Robinson moves a waterlogged tarp off the Bureau of Land Management boat Saturday at the Blue Heron boat launch. About 45 volunteers helped with the 10th annual Colorado River Cleanup from Corn Lake to Loma.

An orca whale was spotted Saturday in the Colorado River between Corn Lake and the Blue Heron boat launch.

Don’t worry, it was thrown away.

The inflatable killer whale toy was one of countless items of trash pulled from the river during the 10th annual Colorado River Cleanup event all day Saturday from Corn Lake to Loma.

Approximately 45 volunteers split into three groups — Corn Lake to Blue Heron boat launch, Blue Heron to James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, Fruita Section and Fruita to Loma.

Sarah Eller and Mike Verbit were first-year participants in the annual event and worked the Corn Lake to Blue Heron section, finding the aforementioned orca whale — “We were constantly pulling inflatables,” Eller said — as well as other pool toys, bread pans, baskets, a crocheted blanket, a TV and one small refrigerator.

Scott Larson, a longtime volunteer at the event, floated Blue Heron to Fruita, working with a group to collect more than two bags of trash and other large items, including part of a dryer, a pet carrier and the hard drive to a computer.

Larson said he loves to float the river but rarely has room in his boat to pick up trash along the way, so Saturday’s event offered the chance to float the river — fun — while also helping clean up the river — necessary and helpful.

Scott and Pam Woodrow, who, like Larson, are also longtime volunteers during the Colorado River Cleanup, rode from Fruita to Loma and found two full cans of Bud Light and one can of Pabst Blue Ribbon — the fish got the cheap beer but the humans disposed of the cans — along with auto parts, a truck bed liner, several tires and “a lot of scrap metal,” Pam Woodrow said.

In addition, Mark Williams worked a stretch of the Gunnison River and found kitchen utensils, mattresses and camping stuff, along with the typical plastic and glass bottles everyone found Saturday.

The volunteers were rewarded with a T-shirt and barbecue at Riverside Park post-cleanup, where they had a chance to win prizes as a sign of gratitude for a hard day’s work on the river.


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