Hundreds to clean up Vail Valley highways Saturday |

Hundreds to clean up Vail Valley highways Saturday

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Bill Simmons walks along the eastbound shoulder of Interstate 70 in Dowd Junction during last year's Vail Valley highway cleanup

VAIL, Colorado ” This Saturday about 1,000 volunteers will comb the roadsides of Colorado’s Vail Valley for the 10th annual highway cleanup.

The cleanup, sponsored by the Eagle River Watershed Council, runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. followed by a volunteer’s barbecue cooked by the Arrowhead Alpine Club at 4 Eagle Ranch.

Groups and businesses participating in the cleanup this year include everyone from Vail Resorts to individual families to the John Denver Fan Club, said Melissa Macdonald, acting executive director of the council.

“We’ve had a lot of interest this year because of Earth Week,” she said. “People are looking for ways to help the planet and help the valley.”

Volunteers will pick up trash on 121 miles of road, including Interstate 70 from east of Vail to Dotsero, U.S. Highway 6 down to Dotsero, U.S. Highway 24 from Red Cliff to Dowd Junction and U.S. Highway 131 from Wolcott to past 4 Eagle Ranch.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

“The snow is starting to disappear and is uncovering all the trash. A lot of the stuff on and at edge of highway ultimately ends up in the river,” Macdonald said. “It’s a great time to pick it up and get the valley looking fabulous and throw a great big party afterward.”

Volunteer coordinator Sue Mott has been helping with the cleanup since its beginning. In fact, she and her husband have been taking care of two miles of Highway 6 in Wolcott for 14 years through the state’s adopt-a-highway program.

The cleanup is always a fun time and afterward, it’s interesting to see what people find on the roads, she said.

One volunteer last year found a significant amount of marijuana, and someone else found a locked safe. The safe had fallen off a company truck and was eventually returned to the company, Mott said.

“I like to see it green,” she said of why she’s stayed involved in the event. “I really don’t like seeing trash. We’re proud of having a beautiful open space and something people will enjoy.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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