We are excited to announce that Protect Our Rivers is hosting the 15th annual Community South Platte Cleanup on Saturday, April 30th, in celebration of Earth Day. This event has historically rallied 200+ rafters, kayakers, bikers, and hikers who have removed 2 tons of trash from the South Platte River corridor in a single day. This year’s event will take place on water and on land. After the cleanup, participants are invited to a private afterparty at Avanti F&B with food, Odell Brewing craft beer and prizes including a Kokopelli pack raft package.
This year’s committed sponsors include Down River Equipment, Kokopelli, Odell Brewing Co. Allkind Hard Kombucha, Avanti F & B, Confluence Kayaks, High Country River Rafters, Rocky Mountain Rafts, Yakoda Supply, River Radius Podcast, Orvis, Fire Any Time, Meow Wolf Denver, Rocky Mountain Canoe, The UNspilt, Compost Colorado, Patagonia Denver and Denver Parks and Recreation.
While there are many cleanup events on the South Platte River each year, this event has historically been one of Denver's largest cleanups. Down River Equipment and Confluence Kayaks kicked off the 1st Annual South Platte Cleanup 15 years ago. Since then, it has been organized by Down River Equipment, Colorado Whitewater, and High Country River Rafters. Now, it is under the organization of Sarah Nelson with Protect Our Rivers, a nonprofit organization that hosts dozens of river cleanups across Colorado each year.
“Of all the people who have organized the South Platte Cleanup, Protect Our Rivers is a great fit,” says Phil Walcynski, co-owner of Down River Equipment. “Sarah understands what it takes to put on a big cleanup event, and her hands-on approach to education, awareness and action ensures the event is in good hands.”
"This event is truly special and we're proud to be a part of it", says Sarah Nelson. “It brings hundreds of Coloradoans together to do some good, and then celebrates these wonderful people who dedicate a day to restoring the waterway that weaves its way through the heart of Denver."
The South Platte River is one of the most heavily polluted rivers in Colorado, and according to a 2021 EPA report, it takes less than three weeks for trash in the South Platte to reach the Gulf of Mexico. "Water in every drainage in the Denver-Metro Area eventually makes its way to the South Platte River, carrying every discarded water bottle and piece of trash in its path along the way,” says Walczynski. “When someone litters on the Front Range, that trash goes downhill until it ultimately reaches the South Platte."
The 15th Annual South Platte Cleanup will target the 5 mile stretch from Overland Park to Confluence Park, with the goal of removing every piece of litter on site.
“It’s going to be a great day,” says Nelson. “We all hope that in addition to spreading love to the South Platte, this event serves as a reminder to take care of rivers and other places we love, so we can continue to pass them forward for future generations to enjoy.”