Despite an impending winter storm warning, families, friends, companies and organizations gathered to beautify our valley Saturday during Eagle River Watershed Council’s 14th annual Community Pride Highway Cleanup presented by Vail Resorts Echo. With 90 individual teams tackling 140 miles of highway, the valley underwent a makeover in just a few hours.
Many volunteers have participated in the cleanup for years, reclaiming their familiar stretch of highway each April. But new teams also bring new energy, and individual volunteers add to teams up and down the valley. Dave Mott, a longtime supporter of the highway and river cleanups, guessed that this was the biggest-ever turnout for the thank-you barbecue at the Broken Arrow Restaurant in Arrowhead.
Chip Bair, a recent addition to the Watershed Council’s board of directors, was participating in his second cleanup. Bair led a team cleaning up Highway 6 near his house in Eagle and also helped out at the barbecue.
“I was happy to see that there was less trash this year,” he said. “Last time, we picked up 20 bags along our mile. This year, there were only 14 bags.”
Eric Pottorf, food and beverage director at Vail Resorts, kicked off the barbecue with a thank you to all who were involved. Vail Resorts Echo was again the presenting sponsor of the cleanup and had many employees helping out.
A big winner of the day was the Ruggs Benedict team, which captured the coveted Golden Toilet Seat Award. Each year, the trophy is awarded to the team that finds the most bizarre piece of trash. This year that came in the form of full dentures found along Highway 6 near Gypsum.