Basalt will salvage the annual Fryingpan River cleanup |

Basalt will salvage the annual Fryingpan River cleanup

Volunteers on the Fryingpan Cleanup last year get unexpected assistance while picking up trash along the Fryingpan River. The event was salvaged for 2020.
Roaring Fork Conservancy/courtesy photo

The show almost didn’t go on.

The Fryingpan River Cleanup is typically held in April on a weekend near Earth Day, but that was impractical this year with the COVID-19 crisis. The date came and went, then Roaring Fork Conservancy staffers decided to revive the tradition.

“The more we started thinking about it, we said, ‘This really needs to happen,’” said Christina Medved, director of community outreach. “This is the 22nd annual cleanup.”

The tradition continues with some major alterations. It won’t be focused on one massive day that brings more than 200 volunteers together.

Instead, volunteers are being enlisted to pick up trash during daylight hours May 18 to 22. Pre-registration will be required for people who want to clean up along Frying Pan Road and along the Roaring Fork River in Basalt.

Roaring Fork Conservancy will be able to assign people different stretches of the rivers at a level appropriate with social-distancing requirements. If people want to clean up a specific stretch of the river frontage or roads, they can make a request. Assignments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

Volunteers will be given instructions via email on where to pick up trash bags and vests along with their assignments.

Trash can be left along Frying Pan Road and will be picked up by Eagle County starting at 2 p.m. Thursday. Any trash collected after that along Frying Pan Road must be brought to Basalt and deposited in a dumpster provided by the town.

Only family members and people who have been sheltering at home together should work in groups. Participants must be 6 years and older and everyone 6 to 12 years of age must be supervised by immediate family members.

People are also encouraged to pick up trash along the Roaring Fork River outside of the Basalt town limits next week. The entire effort will give folks something to do outside.

“We think right now is a good time for this,” Medved said.

Weekdays were selected for the cleanup because of the uncertainty over how many people will be traveling into and out of the area during Memorial Day Weekend, which starts May 23. In addition, if the event was held at all, it needed to be held prior to high water.

The cleanup has been a community gathering and incredibly social event over the years.

“Last year, we had over 200 people come to the cleanup,” Medved said.

The event traditionally featured breakfast served by the Basalt Lions Club in the morning and a gathering of weary participants at Lions Park in the afternoon. Large social gatherings are prohibited this year but the organizers are striving for a different kind of camaraderie. They are urging participants to post their photos on their personal social media accounts and tag them with #roaringforkconservancy and #odellbrewing. Photos should also be emailed to Medved at by noon May 26 to be entered into a prize drawing. Photos can be of unusual trash discovered, Herculean efforts to retrieve it or anything else entertaining.

More information on the event is posted at as well as a link to register.

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