Why Trash the River? Program

Our Why Trash the River? Program is a new 3-pronged approach with community partners to get the trash out of our river once and for all! Join us now!


Getting the trash out of our river means tackling it from BOTH ENDS – not just cleaning up trash already in the river, but also working with all of the ‘culprits’ on the front end to find workable solutions for reducing river trash at its source. Our 3-pronged approach includes:

  • Why Trash the River? Awareness Campaign – education & outreach tackling the SOURCES of river trash
  • Adopt-A-Reach Program
  • Community River Cleanup Events

See below for details and join us now!

Stormwater drainage to river

While most of the Purgatoire River in our watershed winds through remote and sparsely populated agricultural lands or otherwise-protected private or publicly owned open lands, when the river passes through the urban corridor of Trinidad, Colorado, it comes under a lot more human pressure. Within this roughly 5 mile urban stretch of river, there are a variety of overlapping pressures including fishing, tubing, boating, irrigation, urban stormwater runoff, illegal homeless camping & bathing, and, quite noticeably…an impressive amount of trash ending up in the river corridor.

Under the bridge dumping ground

All of this trash is of significant concern to local recreationists, wildlife biologists, irrigators (who risk their lives trying to clean trash out of their headgates during irrigation season), local businesses and organizations, and private citizens (adults and kids) who just want a clean and healthy river!

What We Are Doing

Our Why Trash the River? Program includes the following 3-pronged approach:

  • Why Trash the River? Awareness Campaign
  • Adopt-A-Reach Program
  • Community River Cleanup Events

See below for more details………..

‘Why Trash the River?’ Awareness Campaign

We are currently ramping up our education and outreach efforts working with local community members, organizations, and businesses to better address the SOURCES of trash in our river, as well as help community members better understand how our actions impact our river.

In the meantime..if you are a person of action and you want to help clean up your river NOW, please join us in one of the many ways below that you can help!

Community River Cleanup Events

Join us for one of our upcoming River Cleanup Events! See Events Page

  • Monthly PWP ‘Bags & Brews’ River Cleanup events! We spend a couple hours cleaning up the river filling trash bags, then head over to the local pub for some fun, food & drinks! (non-alcoholic beverages too) Just bring yourself – all cleanup supplies provided!
  • Annual Purgatoire River Fall Cleanup in partnership with Trinidad Community Foundation! Just bring yourself – all cleanup supplies provided plus free food & drinks and educational speakers!
  • Annual Trinidad Community Foundation’s Spring Community Cleanup Event (formerly Comcast Cares Day)! Includes cleaning up trash throughout our entire community – in the river plus throughout all of our neighborhoods! Just bring yourself – all cleanup supplies provided plus free food & drinks!

Join the Adopt-A-Reach Program

Are you a local business, organization, or individual who would like to adopt a section of river to keep clean and free of trash? 

Join the Adopt-A-Reach Program!

See Adopt-A-Reach Program for details

Clean up on your own or with your own group

In this new age of COVID-19, perhaps you would rather avoid community events altogether. Or, perhaps you would rather just clean up on your own time and have some peace and quiet, or spend time just with your close circle. If so, Contact Us directly and we can hook you up with free new gloves and heavy-duty garbage bags! And thank you!!!!

And remember – we are ALL trash culprits!

The trash that blew out of your hand or your car or your garbage can on the last windy day…that receipt you accidentally dropped in the Safeway parking lot…that drink bottle or food container that you accidentally left by the river… let’s all do our part to keep better track of our trash and keep it out of the river!

Please share widely!