Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
6th Annual Lefthand Canyon Cleanup

story and photos by Adam Mehlberg

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

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.

Lefthand Canyon Cleanup Dumpster 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.

Lefthand Canyon Cleanup Image 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 abandoned vehicles.

Lefthand Canyon Cleanup Image 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.

Lefthand Canyon Cleanup Image 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.

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