Earth Day & Beyond: a Story of Trail & River Cleanup in Reno, NV

By Christa Cooper, Girls Who Hike Nevada Ambassador

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Earth Day reminds us that we are stewards for the environment and it’s important to give back to our planet. One way to accomplish this is to participate in local trail & river cleanup efforts. I have been leading a volunteer group and participating in Trail & River cleanup in my local city Reno, NV otherwise known as “Biggest Little City” and over the last 4 years we have been focusing on Dorostkar Park.

The Trail and River cleanup efforts are an amazing way to show our love an appreciation for the trails and rivers being used to hike on, float down which is very popular in this area during the summer months, take your dog for a walk, for a family outing, biking or even just a picnic when the weather is nice.

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We have nice clean parks in our area because we have an amazing community that comes together every year multiple times throughout the year to participate in the cleanups which keeps the community giving back to one another. 

Over the last 4 years here are just some of the thing we have done:
• We have trimmed all the trees along the river in this park that was completely overgrown on the trail allowing for new growth. 
• We have re-wrapped all the trees along the river as we have beavers in our area that like to take down the beautiful natural trees that grow along the river and we can protect them by keeping the base wrapped. The tree wrapping is quite the job since the trees grow and they need new wrappings to allow them to grow. 
• We have pulled so many invasive weeds in the area and some that are poisonous which if you know anything about weeds they keep coming back no matter how many are pulled!
• We have tumble weeds in NV and no it’s not just in the movies it’s a real thing here that we have to constantly manage.
• We have filled in all the water damage areas with fresh sand from when we have had floods that have destroyed the area. The sand came from the sandbags used to protect the area from the flood. 
• Added mulch to parts of the trail that needed it. What’s cool about this is that is comes from the recycled Christmas Trees in the area.  
• We filled in the parking lot with left over construction asphalt keeping it looking nice! 
• Of course, we clean up any trash along the river and trails.

It’s been a gift to be able to give back in a way since I use so many trails I feel it’s important to help keep them clean. It’s also fun, easy to get involved in and good way to meet others who have the same passion that I do about keeping the trails & rivers a cleaner place. I do this because I love it however, we were recognized last year for being Adopter’s of the Year at the Raise the river event which to me really showed how much the community came together and made a difference over the years. All those efforts above could not have been accomplished without all the volunteers! If you have ever been thinking about helping out in a local clean up now’s the time!

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Christa is the Ambassador for our Nevada chapter. You can join her local meetups and discussions through the Nevada chapter by clicking here. To become a member of Girls Who Hike, click here.