Annual cleanup nets more than 17 tons of trash

(Image by Karin Eberhardt, The Taos News)

Volunteers for the 11th annual River and Land Cleanup, hosted by local environmental nonprofit organization Amigos Bravos, collected more than 17 tons of trash from forest roads, arroyos and riversides of Taos County Saturday morning (July 29).

The annual event is one of the main ways hazardous trash — like shot-up TVs, batteries, tires, construction material and contaminated soil — is removed from sensitive watersheds and forest environments in Northern New Mexico.

In three years, the Amigos Bravos cleanup has cleared the Miranda Canyon area behind Llano Quemado of 52 tons of trash. Saturday’s event took out another 13.22 tons, or 26,440 pounds, out of the area. About 1,160 pounds, or 0.58 tons, of trash from the area went to be recycled.

But folks also cleaned up other areas in the town and on the outskirts of Taos. About 75 volunteers also picked up 2.17 tons of trash from the Río Fernando near Los Pandos Road, Taos Valley Overlook, Starlight Canyon and the Río Chiquito around Forest Road 437.

Another 25 volunteers collected 1.86 tons of trash from the Questa area, including shooting range at the Wild Rivers Recreation Area of the Río Grande del Norte National Monument and 1 mile of Forest Road 493 between Questa and Lama.

Volunteers also picked up trash at Taos Pueblo and the Río Lucero, though Amigos Bravos did not have a weight estimate as of press time.

Amigos Bravos wished to thank the following sponsors of Saturday’s cleanup: Sierra Club, Americorps, Albertsons, Chalupp’s Pizza, LEAP, Raw to Go, Río Grande Ace Hardware, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Smith’s Food and Drug, St. James Episcopal Church, Taos County, Taos Land Trusts, Taos Mountain Energy Bars, Taos Pueblo, town of Taos, U.S. Forest Service (Taos and Questa ranger districts), village of Questa and Walmart.