North Cottonwood Creek Dainage cleanup set for July 27 – by a community contributor


With the wildfire danger still on the minds of Chaffee County residents, Chaffee Recreation Adopters will host a cleanup event in partnership with Game Trail residents on Wednesday, July 27, in the North Cottonwood Creek drainage at the west of Buena Vista.

Event participants will clean up public recreation areas along County Road 365, the main access to the Silver Creek, Harvard Lakes and North Cottonwood Creek trailheads.

Chaffee Recreation Adopters volunteers worked with the Chaffee County Fire Protection District and Chaffee Recreation Rangers to clean up 160 campsites in the Browns Creek Recreation Area, removing more than 2,000 pounds of ash and of waste on Monday, May 16, 2022.

The event will focus on approximately 50 vehicle-accessible campsites, where surveys over the past year show excessively large litter and campfire rings at many sites.

North Cottonwood Creek is Buena Vista’s water supply source, and the drainage is at high wildfire risk due to dense, dry forest conditions.

“The number and condition of campfire rings is concerning, so we will be dismantling those that are not appropriate and cleaning up the others to ensure visitors can have campfires safely,” Jessica said. Downing, Chaffee Rec Adopters event coordinator.

The event is Chaffee Rec Adopters’ third cleanup this summer. Volunteers removed 3,500 pounds of ash and campfire waste from campsites in the Browns Creek Recreation Area and along the Buena Vista River Road in the Headwaters Recreation Area of ​​the Arkansas.

The Game Trail Residents Group has formed a group of adopters to improve and manage the National Forest lands near their subdivision for the benefit of all users. In addition to popular trailheads and camping, County Road 365 is the primary access to Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia—two of Colorado’s Fourteeners—and Harvard, Bear, and Kroenke Lakes in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. on July 27 at the Game Trail Mail Center on Great Peaks Drive. Each volunteer is asked to bring a 5 gallon bucket, shovel and wheelbarrow. If possible, bring work gloves and a bottle of water. Sturdy boots, long pants and long sleeves are recommended. Garbage bags, a water fountain and packaged snacks will be provided.

Contact Downing at with questions about the event.

The Chaffee County Fire Protection District will provide a dump trailer to pick up trash and campfire ashes which are collected in biodegradable bags. The Chaffee Rec Rangers will assist volunteers from the U.S. Forest Service’s Salida Ranger District. The Rangers and Adopters programs were initiated by the Chaffee Rec Council, which oversees the implementation of the county’s outdoor recreation management plan to ensure the quality of natural resources and visitor experiences as people and visits increase.

The mission of the Chaffee Recreation Adopters is to help the community care for all recreation grounds in the county. Volunteers use the Chaffee Rec Collector mobile app to assess land, report issues to management agencies, and take action such as trash pickup. Adopters are also ensuring a greater presence in popular county recreation areas. The program is funded by Chaffee Common Ground, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), and the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau.


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