Self-cleaning county swings into action |

Self-cleaning county swings into action

Story and photos by Carolyn Pope
Katie Gaylord of Edwards Elementary with John and Mary Appleby of Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Call it the “Thousand Neighbor March (in May.)” It won’t tick off the county commissioners or spark a new scandal – lawsuits from Cacioppo are unlikely.

Your reputation won’t be sullied, but it’s guaranteed you’ll get your hands dirty. Really dirty. You may have guessed it – it’s time to clean up!

The Community Pride Highway Cleanup, which takes place Saturday, has become about more than just donning work gloves, waterproof boots and sunscreen and sloshing through mud and crud to rid I-70’s shoulders of trash.

It’s become an event for all to join together – from the heights of Mountain Star to the mobile home communities on Highway 6, we are all responsible for the beauty of our valley, whether we tossed the Mountain Dew can out of the window, or some Front Ranger committed the dirty deed after a day on the slopes. We’re all in it together.

Team leaders gathered to collect the bright orange vests and information for the groups this past week at Mustang Grill.

The event is generally considered to be the largest in the country, according to the Adopt-a-Highway system. All in all, around 113 miles will be covered.

This year, Highway 6, from Gypsum to Red Cliff, has been added to the plan, which boosts the number of team leaders from 55 last year to 115 this year.

“The coordination of over 1,000 people is fantastic,” said Kent Walker, who has been with the Eagle River Watershed Council for around two months.

After the bags of trash are gathered, employees of Waste Management and the state department of transportation cruise the highways to collect the debris.

“We still have 14 segments to clean up that haven’t been claimed. Only two are on I-70,” said Caroline Bradford of the Watershed Council.

That means you still have time – by May 1 – to gather a group of friends of co-workers and pitch in. You won’t go un-rewarded – the barbecue and party afterward at the Lazy J Ranch in Wolcott is one you won’t want to miss.

Local politicos dish up the chow, cooked up by Beaver Creek Resort mountain dining, and plenty of cold beer will be on hand from Pier 13 Liquors. The “All Strung Out Band” will provide the entertainment.

“It’s overwhelming,” Bradford said. “Last year, I was standing at Lazy J Ranch around 1:30, and more people just kept coming. We didn’t realize that on a beautiful day, everyone would come to the party. This year, we have twice as many to serve as last year.”

Helping to sponsor the event this year are Vail Resorts, Eagle County, the Rotary Club, Beaver Creek Resorts, the Vail Daily and Vail Trail, all the radio stations in town, Arrowhead, Cordillera, the Edwards Business association, the Edwards Metro District, Singletree, and many others.


Spring cleaning

To volunteer for this year’s I-70 cleanup, call Kent Walker at Eagle River Watershed Council, 827-5406. His e-mail is:


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