Volunteers cleanup trash on heavily populated Denver urban trails

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DENVER — Whether you’re a native or newcomer, a huge reason why many people live in or move to Colorado is to soak in the beauty of the outdoors. With the big boom Colorado has seen in the population, that growth is also taking a toll on some of the more heavily trafficked recreation areas.

Wild & CO volunteers cleaned up litter along a portion of the South Platte River Trail near Fishback Park on Sunday. The group committed to encouraging people to keep Colorado trails clean is hoping to change the narrative along the Denver metro urban trail system.

“One thing I found since living here is there was a narrative that trails were overcrowded, there was a lot of litter and campsites as well. A lot of troubled areas,” said Scott Sajowitz, Wild & CO owner. “We found that there is a lot of overpopulation on some of the larger, more known trails. That’s an area that we tend to focus on as well to help educate people on how to be good stewards along those trails,” said Sajowitz.

Volunteers walked about a mile in each direction along the South Platte River Trail on Sunday. They collected six bags full of trash in an hour and a half. Wild & CO partners with Denver Parks and Recreation and Leave No Trace to complete other projects throughout Colorado.

In mid-May, another crew did a big cleanup along the South Platte River Trail. The area off Interstate 270 near Interstate 76 had mounds of trash left by homeless people living there. Workers cleaned up clothes, shoes, mattresses, shopping carts, toys and bikes.

The owner of the land, Xcel Energy, is working with Adams County and a third party contractor to clean up the area as part of an urban drainage and flood control project. Xcel insisted the cleanup was not a homeless sweep, but instead the work being important for the health and safety of the area.

Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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