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836 volunteers team up to remove hundreds of pounds of trash from Vail area roads

Eagle River Watershed Council’s annual highway cleanup brought community together for rubbish removal

Volunteers collect trash along Interstate 70 Saturday near Eagle.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Each year, volunteers for the Eagle River Watershed Council’s annual Community Pride Highway Cleanup remove hundreds of pounds of trash from local highways, and this year was no different.

The Community Pride Highway Cleanup took place on Saturday, with 836 volunteers removing trash from 80 miles of roadway including sections along Interstate 70, Highway 6, Highway 24, Highway 131 and Colorado River Road.

Raina Weingast, 6, of Edwards helps the Eagle County Climbers Coalition clean up the Wolcott Campground and climbing boulder Saturday in Wolcott. Saturday was a day for cleaning up public spaces in Eagle County.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

A few local parks, campgrounds and community spaces were cleaned, as well.



It was Eagle River Watershed Council Projects Coordinator Anna Nakae’s first year helping to organize the cleanup.

“My coworkers and I are truly humbled and grateful to be a part of a community that cares so deeply about keeping our watershed clean and cared for,” Nakae said. “Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers that came out for this year’s Community Pride Highway Cleanup.



Team Ritz-Carlton, Vail, collects trash along Highway 6 Saturday in Avon. To date, more than 50 tons of trash has been removed from Eagle County highways. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily)

This year’s event was comprised of 77 teams, Nakae said.

Many of the teams are formed by businesses in Eagle County and for some of those workers, the annual cleanup is a chance to get together with colleagues outside of the office.

Nancy Decesare is the team leader for the Christie Lodge in Avon every year. Decesare said she starts assembling their team roughly six weeks before the event by sending out emails to a revolving cast of 70 or so employees.

“We usually have about 15 to 20 people show up,” she said.

Trash is collected and piled up to be collected during the annual Community Pride Highway Cleanup Saturday in Avon. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily)

This year, the Christie Lodge team had 17 employees volunteer. Decesare said the team collected 37 to 40 bags of trash along their section of I-70, between mile markers 166 and 167.

After getting together and collecting the trash, volunteers in years past have enjoyed a barbecue at Arrowhead in Edwards, but this year that event didn’t take place.

The Christie Lodge workers said when their bosses heard the employees weren’t able to get together and enjoy a barbecue after the cleanup, management offered to pay for food for a barbecue for their team. The workers gathered at nearby Nottingham Park where they grilled hamburgers following the cleanup.

While the Christie Lodge team finished early enough to enjoy the afternoon at the park, others continued picking up trash throughout the day.

Jilly Blackett with the Vail Valley Vixens collects trash along Highway 6 near Wolcott.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Pablo Estrada, Jorge Angulo, Pedro Mendoza, Byron Castillo and Kathy Roseberry had to have their lunches delivered to them on the job. The team from Beaver Creek Lodge worked well into the afternoon.

“We only had five people and lots of trash to clean up on our section,” Roseberry said. The Beaver Creek Lodge team cleaned up I-70 from mile marker 167 to 168.

“Most of our volunteers were from our engineering department,” Roseberry said. “They’re our MVPs.”

Emily McGavin collects trash along Highway 6 Saturday near Wolcott.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

While many enjoyed time with colleagues on Saturday, for some it was a chance to create some family time.

Joining the Grand Hyatt Vail’s team of 25 were husband-and-wife volunteers Kara and Michael St. Pierre, who cleaned up Highway 6 in Dowd Junction while carrying their children, 4-month-old Beatrice and 2-year-old Phoenix, in backpacks.

Vicky and Dan Bueno came in from New Hampshire and were talked into volunteering by their daughter, local Nina Bueno, who they were visiting for her birthday.

“Nina said she wanted to celebrate by picking up trash,” they said. “So we had to join.”


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