Here are a couple of tips if you decide to schedule and lead a clean up:

  • Take a small section of less then 5
    miles so you don’t overload yourself and burn out your helpers
  • Figure out how to handle the trash once
    you get it to the takeout.  Many
    counties, cities, NPS, even some outfitters will be more then happy to
    help you dispose of the trash, you just need to ask BEFORE you start.  If you do this on a whim and end up with
    a bunch of trash, please make sure you rid of it properly, or you become
    part of the problem.
  • Trash sticks with the grabbers work
    great.  Just FYI, they sink, so make
    sure you attach a small piece of a noodle to them so they float.  I have a UCR supply of these sticks, and
    will lend them out of you need them. 
    They also work to stick something in area you can’t see BEFORE you
    stick your hands.
  • GO SLOW, make sure your group stays
    together and help even out the trash. 
    Canoes are wonderful! 
    Nothing like a good garbage barge. 
    Have everyone sign a wavier.
  • Some things are better left alone.  Very large, heavy items are many times just
    too big to move. Safety first. Many of the objects that should be left
    like tires are holding the bank up or anchor the sand.  Moving these objects will just
    destabilize the bank and cause more erosion.
  • Try and get rid of water in objects you
    pick up….water and dirt is heavy. Mesh bags work great.
  • HAVE FUN, getting wet and dirty is part
    of the deal, so plan for it.  A
    change of clothes is a good idea. Bring snacks, water and hand
  • If you find any really cool old
    bottles, please hang on to them.  I
    make art out of them and will give you a bounty.


There are few
things you can do as an individual and make a big difference in a short amount
of time, this is one of them.  If you
love your river show it some care. Not only will you feel great, don’t
underestimate what you do for the paddling community, keeping areas open and
having communities welcome paddlers. If you need help you are welcome to
contact me.

Bonny “Trash Queen” Putney