Groups announce details for Hubbard Mesa cleanup
Organizers of the annual cleanup at Hubbard Mesa recently announced details for this spring’s volunteer event.
The cleanup, organized and sponsored by High Country 4 Wheelers Jeep club and the White River Trail Runners ATV/UTV club, is slated for Saturday, May 7.
Shooters Grill is catering the event, and previous sponsors Redi Services, MRI, Casey Concrete and others, are continuing their support of the cleanup as well, said Susan Nichols-Alvis, White River Trail Runners ATV/UTV president and secretary.
Anyone and everyone is encouraged to volunteer and help with the cleanup, she added.
The event is an annual tradition dating back at least to 2004, according to members of the clubs.
In 2015, more than 30 volunteers removed more than 6 tons of garbage, including 70 tires and 31 gallons of used motor oil, from the popular recreation area on Bureau of Land Management land north of Rifle.
“The High Country 4 Wheelers and White River Trail Runners provide a huge service to the community and to BLM by taking the lead on this annual volunteer cleanup at Hubbard Mesa,” David Boyd, public affairs specialist for the BLM Northwest Colorado District, said in an email. “Every year the volunteers remove literally tons of trash, tires, and abandoned appliances and vehicles from this area that’s popular with off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, target shooters and mountain bikers. We really couldn’t do it without them. We simply don’t have the resources.”
The aforementioned popularity among a range of user groups — which by most accounts has steadily increased in recent years — has made Hubbard Mesa a controversial topic.
Some have expressed safety concerns about errant and irresponsible target shooting, while others worry that target shooters who have historically used the area could be unfairly punished.
The BLM is currently sifting through public comments on a draft land-management document that deals largely with contested oil and gas leases in the Roan Plateau area, which extends to Hubbard Mesa.
The BLM’s preferred alternative does not include any changes to recreation in Hubbard Mesa. While citing a need to address concerns over user conflicts in the area, the city of Rifle and Garfield County recently backed the preferred alternative, and stated the two issue — leases for natural resource extraction and recreation in Hubbard Mesa — should be dealt with separately.
Nichols-Alvis has vocally lobbied against any restrictions in Hubbard Mesa, however, this event is focused on “keeping it clean and keeping it open,” she said, adding that the negativity spurred during the debate over Hubbard Mesa is unproductive.
Unlike previous years when the cleanup occurred in April, organizers opted for May this year with hopes that the weather will be more accommodating. Rain led to some less than ideal conditions last year.
The cleanup will go on regardless of weather, though, and Nichols-Alvis recommends coming prepared for various conditions. Organizers also recommend dressing in long pants, sturdy shoes and work gloves. Items such as rakes and shovels also are helpful.
The BLM attends the event and provides support with materials and vehicles, Boyd said. It also ensures there are no hazardous materials in an area prior to the cleanup.
However, he added that “this really is a community-organized, community-driven event.”
The cleanup is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with lunch being served around noon. Anyone seeking further information can visit the White River Trail Runners ATV/UTV club Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ATVUTVclub/?fref=photo or call the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office at 970-876-9000.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon may be closed intermittently Wednesday through the weekend, as highway crews break down and remove boulders and patch potholes caused by Tuesday’s rock slide.