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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Residents band together to clean on Honor the Land and Streams Day

Residents band together to clean on Honor the Land and Streams Day

Almost 200 orange bags were full of trash picked up from the city’s trails and streams after this year’s “Honor the Land and Streams Day" on Saturday, Nov. 10. From Standley Lake to the west, to Little Dry Creek to the south to Big Dry Creek Park near 128th Ave. and Zuni Street to the north, 90 volunteers made Westminster a more beautiful place.

“The event started in 2001 as the Big Dry Creek (BDC) Clean up to highlight the trail and open space,” said Open Space Supervisor Patti Wright. “We have the event on the Saturday following the elections because there were inevitably political signs thrown all over the open space when voting ended.”

In 2011, the event was renamed “Honor the Land,” but with so much debris in the city’s creeks and streams, the scope was widened to include those, which included a rebranding of the event as “Honor the Land and Streams Day.”

“We contacted the Farmers Highline Canal Reservoir Company to get permission and they were very happy,” said Open Space Specialist Hans Reichgelt. “We also coordinated with Jake Moyer and Sharon Williams in Community Development since they have public engagement goals regarding stormwater in the city.”

Open Space division staff provided volunteers with gloves, snacks, water and trash bags, with the option to borrow rakes and trash pickers. The volunteers chose the area they wanted to clean with several groups choosing the trails or creeks close to their homes.

“After picking out a local area, several of the volunteers put out the call on Nextdoor.com to see if anybody else wanted to join them with successful results,” said Open Space Specialist Kristen May.

For several hours, volunteers filled bags with trash found on the trails and waterways. Some of the more interesting items pulled from the water and weeds include a car parts, tires, bicycles and a bed frame. Once their shift is completed, Open Space and Parks Operations staff pick up the bags and other trash from the trails.

One group of 10 volunteers belonged to 3W Races, which uses Big Dry Creek Trail for several races throughout the year.

“Big Dry Creek Trail is one of the longest trails regionally that doesn’t cross a road since we utilize underpasses at road crossings, so they love holding races on it and have a vested interest in keeping it clean,” said May.

Honor the Land and Streams Day is a great project for the city as it engages citizens in Open Space, supports city operations and creates ownership for the citizens and the city they live in.

“This was our first year cleaning the streams and our volunteers did an amazing job,” said Reichgelt. “We plan to hold this expanded event every year to engage our community and make the city a beautiful place to work, live and play.”

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