Fisherman sets example with one-man cleanup
Dan Sheats likes fishing in the Roaring Fork River below Sardy Field – but he couldn’t stand the abandoned, trashed campsite that littered the land nearby.Enclosed by chicken wire and scattered with old cans, tent fragments, Styrofoam and other refuse, the site proved to be quite a challenge clean up. But Sheats did it all, and because of him there’s a new open space program to help others do the same.”It was a solid four hours of grunt work,” the Aspen resident said.Sheats began his work at 7:30 on the morning of May 13 at the abandoned campground near the river. Armed with trash bags, gloves and other gear provided by the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program, he removed trash and 50 yards of chicken wire surrounding the area. After making a few phone calls, Sheats was able to make sure he didn’t get stuck with the dump fees for bringing several trash bags and even a mattress frame to the landfill. And now there’s a system to make sure anyone who wants to perform similar deeds can avoid any hassles dropping it off at the landfill. If the garbage comes from county open space, the open space program will pay the fees.”I definitely don’t want them to incur the cost of the landfill,” said Keith Berglund, a Pitkin County ranger and naturalist who helped arrange the cleanup. Although many people volunteer to keep open space clean, Berglund said, this was the first time in the three years he’s been with the program that one person volunteered to take on such a large project by himself.Sheats was just glad he could get rid of the eyesore and make it a little easier for anyone who may want to follow in his footsteps.”It’s kind of interesting to start a little project on your own,” he said. “If other people see a site like that, they can initiate a cleanup themselves.”Berglund is encouraging anyone who wants to help clean up a site to call him.”Anything anybody can do,” he said. “We’re blessed that people in Pitkin County love open space.”To do your own open space cleanup, call ranger Keith Berglund at 920-5399Greg Schreier’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Produced by Colorado State University’s J-school, the documentary examines the economic potential of the plant.