Lefthand Group shot
Trailridge Runners 4WD Club /
Northern Colorado Trail Riders
10th Annual Lefthand Canyon Cleanup
story by Adam Mehlberg, photos by Glen Akins and Adam Mehlberg

[Note: Lefthand Canyon is north of Boulder, Colorado and west of Longmont, Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.]

The 10th Annual Lefthand Canyon Cleanup attracted 170 volunteers from 22 different motorized and non-motorized recreation groups, as well as individuals in government agencies and the general public. This year the US Forest Service promoted the Lefthand Cleanup as part of the Earthday weekend. Colorado State Parks Trails Coordinators Benjamine Pedrett and Nancy Scalise got the cleanup media coverage in the surrounding newspapers as well as promoting the event as part of the State Parks "Year of Trails".

Lefthand cleanup Lefthand cleanup

Starting at 8:00am, we had a light dusting of snow on the ground from a storm the afternoon before, but it didn't take long to melt off. The "No Shooting" signs placed by the Forest Service the year before have made an impact. The lower areas that shooting had been done at in the past were beginning to revegetate. Some of the smaller informational signs were replaced with hopes of educating the public about the right way to recreate on public lands. The upper shooting area is still being used, and it had the main amount of trash to clean up.

With a such a large group of volunteers, some were sent to the two side canyons on County 94 to clean up the trash there. With the trash from this other area, the dumpster donated by Western Disposal was filling up before noon. To help manage the traffic in the area of the cleanup so that the trucks hauling the trash could make the trips to the dumpster easier, Gail Straty of the Trailridge Runners 4WD Club controlled access on the 4WD road. She directed all the volunteers to park along County 94. This change from past years improved the speed of unloading the trucks hauling out the trash to the point that the volunteers were always loading up an empty truck, instead of piling the trash bags and waiting on the trucks to return through all the traffic on the 4WD road.

Lunch this year was donated by Northern Colorado Trail Riders and prepared by their members Scott and Don Edwards, Howard Konken, and Linda Dressel. Also this year, New Belgium brewery donated some "Fat Tire" beer for our hard working volunteers. Having a few hot dogs and cold drinks was a nice reward for our eager volunteers.

While the main group was working on the trash at the start of the Lefthand Canyon 4WD road, Eddie Householder and members of the Big Thompson 4WD Club with the assistance of Ozzies Towing and Stan's Auto Service Towing headed up to five points to retrieve a burnt out Cherokee. Once the Cherokee was brought down to pavement, it was quickly loaded onto a flatbed tow truck to be hauled to the bone yard.

Darrel Turner of the Trailridge Runners 4WD Club brought his Bob Cat which made unloading the trucks full of trash bags and larger items easier. To get as much trash in the dumpster as possible, Darrel would compress the trash with the Bob Cat bucket. Even doing this we still had four trucks full of extra trash before the cleanup was completed.

Thanks to all those who volunteered. Your time and effort is why the Lefthand Cleanup is such a success.

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