Volunteering With the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association

With the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association, many hands make for light work and less trash helps the river float.

“Every drop of water in the Arkansas River is claimed by water rights,” says Jason Marsden, executive director of Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA). “Colorado Springs and Aurora are two of the biggest rights holders. So river clean-ups in Salida are actually helping the Front Range folks quite a lot, because when you go home, the water follows you down the hill. We make sure the river is filtering through wetlands and flowing downhill slowly, so it doesn’t accumulate trash and debris that chokes the fish and makes the water harder to pipe into homes.”

GARNA is a nonprofit working to clean up rivers and increase environmental stewardship through educational programs, gear-lending libraries, and volunteer days. May 18 is its biggest annual event: Clean Up Green Up, a celebration of public lands where volunteers help pick up trash in the watershed. Marsden notes that there are still great sections available for sign-ups, including Clear Creek Lake area, the Arkansas River through the town of Salida, and Browns Canyon National Monument. “You will be in the sticks, literally. But it’s so fun because you get to make a difference, meet locals, learn the behind-the-scenes reality of mountain towns, gain a renewed appreciation for environmental issues that transcend locations, and best of all, be outdoors.”

“There is no ‘away’ in ‘throw away,’” Marsden reminds us. “It doesn’t exist. We need to start taking responsibility for what we bring into natural places and start taking it back out with us. If volunteers weren’t picking up after others, imagine what they could accomplish instead.” To sign up for the May event, volunteer for future events, donate to the gear library, or contribute funds visit garna.org.

- Advertisement -