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Chapter Activities - River Cleanup

Rocky Mountain Flycasters

Big Thompson Clean Up

Clean up leader Rick Musslemann drove into Estes April 27 ahead of time and picked up trash bags at the Visitor’s Center. They had lots of bags plus yellow safety vests, as well as coffee and donuts.

Big T Collectors and Collection
Wil and Jane Huett met up at the start point (mile marker 72 at the fishing pier), with Rick, Rick’s wife Peggy, and neighbors Terry and Erin Cochran. We worked our way up to about mile marker 69 by around 11:00.

Loading debris
Loading debris
Rick continues “On average we each filled a large trash bag more than half way, and we picked up a bunch of larger/heavier items that wouldn’t fit into bags.
When we took the trash to the provided dumpster at the Lake Estes Marina we ran into a Chris Kennedy and few guys from Alpine Anglers. They had a similar amount of trash and we took a couple pictures together.
Afterwards my group went into Estes for lunch and a beer. It was a really enjoyable day. I’d certainly be willing to lead the effort (or similar) again in the future.” Good job by the Rocky Mountain Flycasters and Alpine Anglers teams!

Volunteers heading toward the river
Volunteers heading toward the river.

Poudre Clean Up: Day of Service

More than two dozen volunteers arrived at the Poudre Learning Center to participate in a Day of Service. The Poudre Learning Center borders a three mile section of the Poudre just west of Greeley and includes meeting areas, a pond, paved biking trails, trails through the willows, and access to the river. Schools in Greeley often use the Learning Center for outdoor education opportunities.
The September 7, 2013 Day of Service was sponsored by Colorado Trout Unlimited, RMF, Poudre Learning Center, Xcel Energy and CBS4. Jerry Pelis helped organize the event for RMF but was unable to attend.

Path through the willows
More spacious trail in the willows.
Volunteers split into groups where some worked at clearing trails among the willows along the river while others worked at removing invasive plantsstone steps
Steps up from a flood level.
and building steps for easier access for teachers and young students. Approximately a half mile of trails were cleared and two sets of stone steps were created.
After about two and a half hours of work under hot conditions, Xcel provided clean, dry Day of Service T-shirts, some snacks and more water. On leaving the PLC, several volunteers were given unsolicited thank yous by people who used the PLC area for biking, hiking, and nature viewing. Thanks to all.

submitted by Paul Wehr, Webmaster

Poudre Cleanup 2010

Poudre Clean up Crew
Standing L-R: Bryan Lilly, Jim Shook, Phil Wright, Lee Evans, Jerry Pelis, Bob Streeter, Dave Piske. Front L-R: Dennis Cook, Cullen Emsing, Bryon Fessler, Paul Wehr. Not in photo Ken Eis, Greg, Grace, and Lewis Evans. Photo by Ken Eis
All over the State of Colorado, Trout Unlimited Chapters gathered on local rivers to clean up trash along the banks. Rocky Mountain Flycasters members and volunteers assembled at Picnic Rock in the lower Poudre Canyon on September 18 under foggy, misty, cool skies to clean up 14 miles of the Poudre River banks.

Those who turned out for the cleanup included Dennis Cook, Ken Eis, Cullen Emsing, Grace Evans, Greg Evans, Lee Evans, Lewis Evans, Bryon Fessler, Bryan Lilly, Jerry Pelis, Dave Piske, Jim Shook, Bob Streeter, Paul Wehr, Phil Wright. (Click on the pictures to see a larger image.)

Stamping our feet to keep warm with hands shoved in pockets, Dave Piske handed out sheets with stretches of the river for each group to clean. Each pair of volunteers was to pick up trash from about two miles of river. Shortly, we trooped off to our areas to collect paper, beverage cans and bottles, non-matching flip-flops, plastic containers, car parts, and whatever else didn’t belong by the riverside from milepost 119 up to milepost 105.

traffic cone and inner tube
cone and inner tube
Unusual find along the river
Most amazing find along the river. Photo by Ken Eis
Returning to Picnic Rock for a picnic lunch, we compared the more unusual items that were collected. On display at the picnic were a large traffic cone and a small inner tube. It makes you wonder who used that inner tube to float the Poudre. Someone else turned up four pairs of underwear.

By far, the most unusual find came from Grace Evans. She said that originally she saw a shoe sticking out from under some brush. She pulled and pulled to discover that the shoe was attached to a prosthetic limb. Imagine! She tugged and pulled but couldn't seem to get it unstuck. She got some help and kept pulling but it still wouldn't get free—just like she’s pulling on yours.

Ken Eis casting on the Poudre
Ken Eis casts a nymph on the Poudre
After the picnic, some of the volunteers took the afternoon to do some fishing. Up above Mishiwaka, the skies were clear and the temperature 15° warmer. The water was low and clear and as usual, there were fish in the river. Up near Steven’s Gulch, Ken Eis caught and released a dozen or more trout.

Thanks to all of our members and volunteers and thanks to all the other Colorado Trout Unlimited members and volunteers who made this a great State River Clean-up day. Special thanks to Bob Streeter for organizing our work crew, Dave Piske for coordinating our cleaning areas, and Lee Evans for the picnic lunch.

After the picnic lunch at Picnic Rock on the Poudre
A happy crew after lunch at Picnic Rock. Photo by Ken Eis

Narrows State Wildlife Area

The Narrows State Wildlife Area (SWA) received a much needed makeover on June 26, 2010 thanks to six members of the Rocky Mountain Flycasters (RMF) Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU). The event was part of the National TU Clean-Up Day and included lots of weed whacking, chain sawing, raking, chipping, mowing and the sharing of fish stories over donuts and coffee. The Narrows SWA contains 13 acres of public access land that can be used for fishing, hiking, and viewing of wildlife. The Narrows SWA is located at MM 81 just as you leave the narrows in the Big Thompson Canyon.

Larimer County created the Narrows SWA after they took possession of the property following a devastating flood on July 31, 1976. During the celebration of Colorado’s centennial, a flash flood swept down the Big Thompson canyon. The event was triggered by a stationary thunderstorm near the upper reaches of the canyon that deposited over 12 inches of rain in less than four hours. At around 9 pm that day, a wall of water over 20 feet high swept through the canyon traveling more than 14 miles per hour. The flash flood claimed the lives of 143 people and destroyed 400 cars, 418 houses, and 52 businesses.

The RMF Chapter of TU began cleaning the Narrows SWA about six years ago and officially adopted it this year. The chapter is working with the county to eventually post signs denoting the partnership. Special thanks to the following individuals who donated their time and talent to make the clean-up effort a huge success: Frank Cada, Dave Piske, Alan Jones, Bryon Fessler, Leon Knox, and Lee Evans (Chapter President).

Photos by Bryon Fessler. Click on pictures for a larger image.
Path to the river at Narrows SWA
Path to the river
Narrows SWA view
Entrance and parking
Gathtering deadfall
Clearing the deadfall
Feeding the chipper
Feeding the chipper
Making the grasses shorter
Making the grasses shorter
Making the edges neat
Making the edges neat
The Narrows SWA cleanup crew June 26, 2010
The 2010 Narrows SWA Cleanup Crew
Poudre clean up crew 2006

Poudre Clean up Crew Oct 21, 2006 photo by Doc Sheets

Poudre River Clean up

October 21st was predicted to be a cold one with blowing rain and snow in the forecast. Fifteen hardy souls, including three graduate students from CSU, showed up for the RMFC Annual River Clean Up, this year on the lower Poudre River. They were greeted by dry conditions, sunshine, and a beautiful dusting of snow along the banks and trees of our home waters. Led by Dave Piske and fueled by donuts, the group spent about three hours scouring the river access points and picking up all manner of trash for the DOT to pick up in those bright orange bags.

Andy and Chris Sheafor with the bench

Andy and Chris Sheafor with the newly installed bench. photo by Greg Evans

Meanwhile, Chris and Andy Sheafor and Greg Evans drove up to the first big bend in the Poudre below the hatchery. There they dug a couple of holes and installed a metal bench at the site where a certain Mr. Zimmerman of Zimmerman Lake fame caught his first Poudre River trout. His family had donated the bench in his honor, and Colorado Trout Unlimited came up with a $500 donation for Rocky Mountain Flycasters to install it. Chris, Andy and Greg stood back to admire their work and clean up the cement covered shovels just as the snow hit. Good timing and good works.

Thanks to all who made the day a success. And a reminder too, pick up that crushed water bottle or plastic cup you see after a day of fishing when you go next time. The men and women of RMF will thank you next year! Tight lines this Fall!

State-wide Clean Up September 24, 2005

Rocky Mountain Flycasters was active with chapters throughout the state with a state-wide cleanup of cold-water resources. Our chapter has done a spring clean up of a selected area along the Big Thompson. For our fall participation in the state-wide effort, we worked at cleaning up selected portions of the Cache la Poudre River.

Early Poudre cleanup crew
photo by Ken Eis

Members met Saturday, September 24th at the Picnic Rock area and were provided with a survey by Dave Piske of 45 miles of Poudre River. With our assigned area in hand, we dispersed to selected areas up the canyon for our cleanup activities. Working until around noon, members collected a variety of trash along the river. Discarded auto batteries and dirty diapers were some of the quite hazardous trash polluting our river. There were also plenty of beer bottles and cans strewn along the riverbanks that were collected and disposed of properly.

See the related article in the Local Section of the Friday September 23, 2005 Fort Collins Coloradoan or online at Coloradoan Local News.

Spring Big T Clean Up - May 21, 2005

Thinning the brushRocky Mountain Flycasters has just completed the spring cleanup at Big Thompson Narrows State Wildlife Area. More than 20 members came out and worked really hard to carry downed limbs and pruned limbs to the chipper. Again this year, the result was obvious and the Park is more useful and attractive to the public.

Chipping up the brushThis task will demonstrate to the County Commissioners and to the nearby residents that there is support from the general public for the retention and maintenance of the Big T properties.

Cutting down weedsThis is the second major task that our chapter of Trout Unlimited has undertaken this Spring. Bob Streeter led about 20 volunteers in the restoration of a riparian zone in the new Eagle's Nest Park on the North Fork of the Poudre River near Livermore. This area will open to the public on June 11. Attend the opening ceremony and see what our Chapter can accomplish.

Last updated: 20 Sep 2010

Last updated on 09 May, 2019