Part-time Steamboat Springs resident Jeff Henderson retrieves a beer can while picking up trash in the Yampa River.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Part-time Steamboat Springs resident Jeff Henderson retrieves a beer can while picking up trash in the Yampa River.

Friends of the Yampa collect trash from riverbank


— One never knows what to expect when setting out to search the banks of the Yampa River after a busy summer weekend.

"They found a nice backpack stuffed with clothes and a cell phone," Peter Van De Carr said.

Members of Friends of the Yampa and assorted river lovers met at Backdoor Sports on Monday morning and managed to fill more than 15 garbage bags.

Along with the predictable sunglasses, sunglass retainers, sun visors and single sandals, the group found some trash items that probably had nothing to do with the large numbers of people floating the river on inner tubes during Rainbow Weekend.

"We had a great turnout. We had like 25 people, and everyone was psyched," Van De Carr said. "They found two derelict chairs, a snow shovel and an ax handle,"

He is the owner of Backdoor Sports and rents tubes and shuttle rides to floaters. Many of those enjoying the Yampa during the weekend purchased their own tubes at sporting goods stores. And it's safe to assume not everyone who floated on his or her own was psyched.

City of Steamboat Springs parking enforcement officer Jay Belyea said the city issued 22 tickets in the vicinity of Rotary Park near the U.S. Highway 40 interchange during the weekend. Although a few were warning tickets, the majority of the citations carried a $25 fine.

"Our philosophy with parking tickets is to be as lenient as possible," Belyea said. "We realize parking (at Rotary Park) is limited. But when people are blatantly parked where there are signs that say 'No parking at any time,' and it creates a hazard," we issue tickets.

Belyea said Steamboat Springs Police Department patrol officers are too busy on the big summer tourism weekends to write tickets to people who are parked illegally. However, he said there is an officer presence in those areas and that patrols are taking place.

Community Service Supervisor Tom Whiddon confirmed his staff was too preoccupied with keeping pedestrians and motorists safe in the vicinity of Art in the Park to deal with the overflow parking situation on river access points.

The city recently announced plans to be more vigilant in enforcing local ordinances, particularly as it pertains to tubers.

Van De Carr said the next time he plans a river cleanup event, he would plan it during evening hours when people with 9 to 5 jobs are able to take part.

And that backpack with the cell phone? It was returned, albeit soggy, to the owner.

To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail


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