Cleanup season: Vail, Avon host town cleanups Saturday, May 13 | VailDaily.com

Cleanup season: Vail, Avon host town cleanups Saturday, May 13

Ryan Elwan participated in his first local cleanup event on Saturday. The Edwards resident said he wanted to help out the community that he loves.

"I heard about some friends doing it and wanted to get involved," he said.

So he spent a sunny Saturday morning picking up trash on the side of U.S. Highway 6 in Eagle-Vail. He found the experience to be particularly rewarding.

"I loved it," he said. "I'm going to keep doing it every year."

Last year at Avon's first-ever town cleanup event, councilmember Megan Burch said the last minute event attracted more people than she was expecting.

"There were probably 40 people, some who had never participated in a cleanup before," said Burch, who helped organize the event. "There were a few people who were new to the area and thought this might be a good opportunity to meet their neighbors."

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At the annual GoPro Mountain Games cleanup event, Tom Boyd with the Vail Valley Foundation said participants show up every year wanting to help.

"Taking care of the environment in which we are able to host this event is a core aspect of our role in hosting this every year, and it's a core aspect of what it means to be a part of mountain culture," Boyd said.

On Saturday, town cleanups will return to both Vail and Avon. Those towns wait until after the annual Community Pride Highway Cleanup to hold their events, so they don't have to worry about cleaning up Interstate 70 and Highway 6. On June 11, the GoPro Mountain Games cleanup will get underway. It's officially cleanup season.

National River Cleanup

As far as annual cleanups go, the first few years always net the most trash. Since the town of Avon started doing theirs last year, that area is where you're most likely to find a Crystal Pepsi can from the 1990s.

They're not sure how much trash was netted, but Burch said there were definitely items found that indicated a proper cleanup hadn't taken place there in years, possibly ever. This year, organizers said, they're going to try to measure the amount collected to establish a baseline on how much trash the town accumulates every year. Through education, they hope to see the number decrease every year.

At the GoPro Mountain Games cleanup, the effort and partnerships going into the event have never been greater.

"This year it's brought to you by the Vail Valley Foundation, the GoPro Mountain Games, Klean Kanteen, American Rivers, the Eagle River Watershed Council and the town of Vail," Boyd said. "Everybody's really on board with this."

It's an official National River Cleanup event, of which more than 1.3 million volunteers have participated in thousands of cleanups across the country since 1991. The first 100 registrants to the GoPro Mountain Games cleanup will receive a 20-ounce insulated Klean Kanteen water bottle.

At the Vail town cleanup on Saturday, event organizer Mark Hoblitzell, the town's environmental sustainability coordinator, said the cleanup program is a great opportunity to get a jump start on spring cleaning and to encourage community members to join the town in keeping Vail clean and eco-friendly. The first 100 participants will be awarded $25 to be distributed to one of many area nonprofits approved by the Vail Town Council.

CLEAN UP, GET DOWN

And of course, with every event, there are great after parties.

In Vail on Saturday, community members are encouraged to take part in the celebration that will include a free barbeque after the event at Donovan Pavilion. There will also be a free lunch following Avon's cleanup on Saturday, where volunteers will hang out at the Nottingham Park Performance Pavilion event terrace and enjoy music by a live DJ. The GoPro Mountain Games cleanup will serve a light lunch following its cleanup, as well.

With all cleanups, bring gloves and extra layers of clothes in case it gets cold or rains, and wear comfortable walking shoes.

Both Vail and Avon's cleanup events begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday and run until about 11 a.m. or noon. To pre-register for Vail's event, email cleanupday@vailgov.com. To pre-register for Avon's, email pneill@avon.org. The GoPro Mountain Games cleanup will take place June 11, from 8:30 a.m. until about 11:45 a.m. To register, visit americanrivers.org/make-an-impact/national-river-cleanup/vailkleanup.

UPCOMING CLEANUPS

What: Town of Avon Cleanup.

When: Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m.

More information: Register at 9 a.m. at the performance pavilion, or in advance by emailing pneill@avon.org. Free lunch and a live DJ to follow.

What: Town of Vail Cleanup.

When: Saturday starting at 9 a.m.

More information: Pre-register by emailing cleanupday@vailgov.com, or call 970-479-2333 and indicate how many volunteers will be participating, the nonprofit recipient and any dietary considerations.

What: The Love Vail Klean Up: A National River Cleanup Event that is part of the GoPro Mountain Games.

When: Sunday, June 11 from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m.

More information: Register at americanrivers.org/make-an-impact/national-river-cleanup/vailkleanup.