By Dawna Zukirmi
Despite the cold and windy weather, over 60 volunteers picked up trash along a 12-mile stretch of the Weber River from Henefer to Morgan on Saturday, June 14.
Cleaning sites included the public access areas along the Henefer frontage road, the three public access parking lots at Henefer, around the Croydon bridge area, along the popular “Roadside Wave” pull-off area between mile post 110 and Devil’s Slide viewing area, under the Long Bridge, all along the parking and river bank at Taggart, public access areas down-stream from Round Valley Golf Course to the new bridge, and along the entire length of the Mickelson Mile.
There were also groups of rafts and kayaks that floated from Henefer to Taggart and another group that floated from Taggart to Morgan cleaning at water level. Destination Sports & Adventure, All Seasons Adventure, the Oakley School and some private parties supplied boats and guides to float and clean those stretches of river.
Volunteers came from Morgan, Mountain Green, Echo, Kamas, Heber City, Park City, Oakley, Ogden, Layton, Farmington, Bountiful, Salt Lake City, Sandy and Salem. There were even volunteers from out of state and out of country.
Some of the volunteers came to support efforts of their respective organizations and clubs, such as the Weber Basin Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Wasatch Mountain Club.
The most common trash collected, not surprisingly, was popped tubes and rafts (the cheap kind that are recommended for pool toys, not for floating on a river with class I and class II rapids and big boulders like in the “Rock Garden”), flip flops and drink cans and bottles.
So what can people who float on the river do to help keep the river nice for everyone? Educate yourself first, to the fact that the Weber River stretch from Henefer to Taggart is a challenging stretch of river for tubers. It is not an easy float, like the Provo River. Use sturdy floatation devices that are designed to handle rugged river terrain. Wear sturdy shoes that will not fall off. Carry all drinks and snacks in some sort of pocket that will not fall out of your tube and wash down river when you hit the first rock and flip or pop your tube.
Some of the strangest and largest trash collected included a huge light fixture, a couple of big popped lake rafts, a large electronic device with very thick glass that was used for target practice, half of a broken canoe and random pieces of large metal.
Prizes, supplies, food and drink were donated by local businesses and families. Utah Whitewater Gear in Midvale hosted a BBQ with all the fixings for the volunteers. Trout Unlimited donated the rental of a Honey Bucket portable toilet for the day. Destination Sports donated the use of their boats, vans and trailers for shuttle. Taggart’s Grill donated gift certificates and cookies for prizes. Zuki Imports donated gift certificates for prizes. High Country Adventure donated two float trip vouchers for up to six people each as prizes. Ridley’s store in Morgan donated trash bags, chips, cups and plates. Romero Graphics donated a beautiful 2’ x 8’ vinyl banner that we’ll use on future clean-up efforts. UDOT donated orange garbage bags, vests and set out a sign out to help keep volunteers safe by mile marker 110. Jay and Holly Ackett, Azmie and Dawna Zukirmi, and RiverRestoration.org donated drinks and snacks. Morgan County Council covered the cost of dumping the large trailer full of trash that was collected that day along the river. It was great to see so many people who care about the river come together to make a difference! Thanks to all who helped!
Another clean-up is planned after Labor Day weekend and organizers hope to turn this into a regular event. With help and input, efforts could turn into an official adopt-a-river program for the Weber.