|Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
6th Annual Lefthand Canyon Cleanup
story and photos by Adam Mehlberg
[Note: Lefthand Canyon is north of Boulder,
and west of Longmont, Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.]
This years Lefthand Canyon Cleanup took place on the morning of
April 26th. We began at 8:00am, as usual, with the donated Western
Disposal dumpster surprisingly empty this year. In the past we have
arrived in the morning to find the dumpster partially filled with old
tires and large items that I presume the canyon residents can't get
taken out with the normal trash collection.
This year the advertising of the event within the Northern Colorado
Trail Riders, Longmont Trailridge Runners 4WD Club, and Rocky Mountain
Enduro Circuit clubs brought in over 80 volunteers. We also saw an
increase in participation from our listing in the Volunteers for
Outdoor Colorado annual catalog of projects. We also had a donation of
safety gloves from Mike Hagen who could not attend the cleanup.
We found the lower shooting area, which has a no shooting executive
order from the Forest Service, to be relatively clean, compared to
years past. Though our "No Shooting" signs were long gone, it appears
the use of this area for shooting might be slowing. Our biggest piece
of trash would be the Jeep CJ7 remains that we had brought down from
the upper meadow last year. Darrel Turner, of Turner Realty in
Longmont, arrived early with his Bobcat allowing us to drag the CJ7 out
to the road. Darrel then lifted the entire shot up remains and
deposited it into the dumpster. In years past our volunteers have had
to haul out up to three abandoned vehicles from the area, and then work
out ways to get them disposed of. This year we didn't find any new
The main shooting area, beyond the first switchback in the 4WD road was the same as last year, and our volunteers concentrated on that area. We used rakes and shovels to clean up the spend shot gun shell casings. The pickup trucks were constantly going back and forth with the filled trash bags donated by Honda, and the larger items. Hot water heaters, stoves and ovens, paper boxes and assorted shot up trash was quickly filling the dumpster.
A few of the 4WD volunteers went to the upper meadow to clean up a
new area where people are beginning to shoot as well. By noon they had
made it back down with everyone carrying full loads of trash. With
Darrel's bobcat compacting the trash that was deposited into the
dumpster, we got 25% more cleaned up. I just hope Western was able to
pull the dumpster up on to the truck when they picked it up.
In years past, we would return to do the cleanup to find the areas just as full of trash as the year before. I think we may be making progress, this year it seemed like the area had less trash to pick up. Lets hope next year there is less work to do again.
At noon the Parts Place of Fort Collins began cooking hotdogs and
spreading out the chips and drinks for all the volunteers. After
everyone had gotten their fill, and the supplies were cleaned up, we
went off in smaller groups to enjoy the rest of the day up in the
mountains. Thanks to all those that volunteered this year.