JOHN MARTIN RESERVOIR, Colo. – Local volunteers joined reservoir staff and collected more than 40 bags of trash along the south shoreline during a cleanup event May 2.
The event was named “Clean Sweep” and supported John Martin’s shoreline management program.
Operation Clean Sweep “focused on the enhancement and promotion of excellent outdoor recreational opportunities at John Martin Reservoir, particularly in regards to trash and debris within our reservoir basin,” said Chris Langstaff, supervisory ranger at John Martin Reservoir.
One of the event’s goals was to prompt more of a sense of ownership of the project among the public.
“We wanted to encourage a positive personal experience involving our younger generations, because they are the future. Our belief is that by incorporating our local youth we can instill a sense of personal ownership of our public lands, which ultimately could result in the overall cleanliness of John Martin Reservoir,” said Langstaff.
Park Ranger Justin Proffer said, “We reached out to the local area schools to bring kids in on the event in order to instill a sense of pride, ownership, and responsibility of their local resource. Our hopes were to change the way kids look at the reservoir so when they are older and out here recreating, they think back to the times they spent out here cleaning and want to help maintain that stewardship and hopefully pass that on to their own children.”
District staff also partnered with the local non-profit Bent County Sparkle and Shine Program, whose mission is to clean and improve the local community which includes John Martin Reservoir.
The rangers said they hope to see this turn into an annual event and they are looking at planning a similar event in the fall after the recreation season ends.