Why Trash the River? Program

Stormwater drainage to river

While most of the Purgatoire River in our watershed winds through remote and sparsely populated agricultural lands or otherwise-protected private or publicly owned open lands, when the river passes through the urban corridor of Trinidad, Colorado, it comes under a lot more human pressure. Within this roughly 5 mile urban stretch of river, there are a variety of overlapping pressures including fishing, tubing, boating, irrigation, urban stormwater runoff, illegal homeless camping/bathing/fecal contamination, and, quite noticeably…an impressive amount of trash ending up in the river corridor.

Under the bridge dumping ground

All of this trash is of significant concern to local recreationists, wildlife biologists, irrigators (who risk their lives trying to clean trash out of their headgates during irrigation season), local businesses and organizations, and private citizens (adults and kids) who just want a clean and healthy river!

We are working closely with multiple local partners to develop a realistic and sustainable plan to address both ends of the river trash issue – not just cleaning up the trash in the river, but also working with all of the ‘culprits’ on the front end to find workable solutions for reducing river trash at its source.

In the meantime…if you are a person of action and you want to help clean up our river NOW while these other efforts are in progress, please join us in one of the many ways below that you can help!

Community River Cleanup Events

  • Join us for our monthly ‘Bags & Brews’ River Cleanup events! We spend a couple hours cleaning up the river filling trash bags, then head over to the local pub for some fun, food and drinks! (non-alcoholic beverages also available) Just bring yourself – all other cleanup supplies provided for free! (see Events Page for date/location)
  • Join us for the annual Purgatoire River Fall Cleanup event in partnership with Trinidad Community Foundation! Just bring yourself – all cleanup supplies provided for free, plus free food, drinks, and educational speakers! (see Events Page for date/location)
  • Join us for the annual Purgatoire River Spring Cleanup event in partnership with/as part of Trinidad Community Foundation’s Comcast Cares Day! Just bring yourself – all cleanup supplies provided for free plus free food and drinks! (see Events Page for date/location)

Join the Adopt-A-Reach Program

Are you a local business, organization, or individual who would like to adopt a section of river to keep clean and free of trash? See Program for details

Clean up on your own or with your own group

In this new age of COVID-19, perhaps you would rather avoid community events altogether. Or, perhaps you would rather just clean up on your own time and have some peace and quiet, or spend time just with your close circle. If so, contact Purgatoire Watershed Partnership directly and we can hook you up with free gloves and heavy-duty garbage bags! And thank you!!!!

And remember – we are ALL trash culprits!

The trash that blew out of your hand or your car or your garbage can on the last windy day…that receipt you accidentally dropped in the Safeway parking lot…that drink bottle or food container that you accidentally left by the river… let’s all do our part to keep better track of our trash and keep it out of the river!