After a hiatus last year, the Spokane River Clean-Up is back for its 12th run – this time, led by the Lands Council. (It had previously fallen under the umbrella of Friends of the Falls.) This year’s clean-up will cover the University District and the Downtown River Gorge area, including High Bridge Park and People’s Park. The volunteer-fueled event counts on hundreds of community members to spend Saturday morning picking up garbage and recyclable materials from public lands along the Spokane River. At the 2013 event, volunteers removed about four tons of debris from stretches of the river from High Bridge Park all the way upstream to Spokane Valley. Objects found range from fascinating to hazardous – regular volunteers are asked to leave questionable objects and alert a team leader – but the majority of the trash is, predictably, scattered food wrappers, bottles and cans. This year’s effort will include an on-the-water crew led by Spokane Riverkeeper Jerry White.
Individual volunteers and groups from high schools, churches, and service clubs are all invited to volunteer. Groups are encouraged to sign up together and recruit friends, classmates or coworkers to participate. Special safety training is provided for team leaders of groups with at least 10 volunteers. Individuals may also sign up to serve as team leaders or to volunteer on a team. Team and individual registrants can choose between morning meeting locations at High Bridge Park and the Avista Utilities building. Light breakfast, water and coffee will be provided onsite. Volunteers will receive light cloth gloves, plastic bags for trash and recyclables, and a River Clean-Up backpack to carry their supplies. Bring a water bottle and wear long pants and closed-toed shoes. Participants driving to the High Bridge Park location can park at Spokane Falls Community College and receive a free pass to be shuttled to the park on an STA bus. For more info and to sign up, visit Spokanerivercleanup.org.