Community forms picking up litter along Aspen roads and popular trails, organizer of Trash Crush says |

Community forms picking up litter along Aspen roads and popular trails, organizer of Trash Crush says

A community cleanup "is a natural extension of caring and loving this place," says organizer Erik Skarvan.
Pristine Riders/Courtesy photo

When speeding down Highway 82 it’s hard to notice the litter scattered along the road, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there and in need of a good cleanup.

The eighth annual Pristine Riders Trash Crush community cleanup is well-timed for Friday and will tackle the litter mess along Highway 82 and popular trails just outside of Aspen.

“We clean up and look and see a tangible before and after,” Pristine Riders Executive Director Erik Skarvan said.

Pristine Riders is a non-profit founded by Skarvan that combines a passion for cycling and cleaning up the environment. The event is also hosted by Sun Dog Athletics, celebrating their 27th anniversary as “Aspen’s Adventure Sports School.”

According to Skarvan, the theme of the cleanup is “Can we give a little back?”

“Can we give back in such a minimal basic way for all that we’re blessed with here?” he said. “I like to think that if we all do give a little back, it does mean a lot.”

The volunteer litter cleanup will be along Highway 82, East of Aspen trail, ABC trail, Castle Creek Road. and Maroon Creek Road. Skarvan said the cleanup is necessary to address historic levels of litter. It also is a simple way to give back and show appreciation for the mountains and all they offer, he said.

Skarvan was asked to participate in various cleanup events about 15 years ago, but as those events became fewer and farther between, the need for them increased.

“It’s just a natural extension of stewardship. It’s a natural extension of caring and loving this place,” he said.

There’s nothing glamorous about picking up trash along the highway, trails and roads, but Skarvan does everything he can to make the experience fun.

“I give out awards called the ‘Trashy Awards,'” he said. “Most disgusting, most valuable, most reusable, most exotic are just some of the categories. You don’t need to bring the actual item to me, just show me a picture on your phone.”

The awards with special prizes are given out at the lunch that follows the cleanup. The first 20 volunteers to sign up at will receive a complimentary volunteer lunch alfresco, courtesy of Silverpeak Grill.

“I really enjoy bringing people together and honestly we can have fun out there cleaning up litter,” said Skarvan.

“It’s really a great feeling to give back and you will feel good, even though it’s kind of disgusting,” Skarvan said with a laugh. “But once you kind of get over picking up your dog’s poop, it’s nothing to pick up litter, right?”

More information and registration are available by contacting Pristine Riders Executive Director Erik Skarvan at or (970) 925-1069. Like Sun Dog Athletics and Pristine Riders on Facebook for updates.