Hank Pantier

Cleaning up the River Wild

Hank Pantier
Cleaning up the River Wild

SmartWool Service Day

Giving back to our community is in our DNA here at SmartWool. That’s why, twice a year, we shut down the office and head out into the community to lend a hand. This year, we partnered with American Rivers to help clean up our local river, the Yampa.

One of the last remaining wild rivers in the West, the Yampa River is an important part of the western ecosystem. It flows 250 miles through Northwest Colorado’s farms, ranches and towns like our very own Steamboat Springs on its way to the joining the Colorado River. It’s also a vital part of our community. We fish in it, tube in it, raft in it and swim with our kids and dogs in it. And so do lots of other people. An end of summer cleanup was in order.

American Rivers armed us with bags and tools to help with the clean up and we set off in groups to scour the banks and bed of the river for those items that needed to come out. We cleaned up 7 miles of the river, plus bordering parks and recreational areas. We found everything from golf and tennis balls to tires and a tractor hood. Plus a shopping cart. And beer cans. Lots and lots of beer cans. In the end, we filled up 3 pickup trucks worth of trash.

We were also joined by Dean from Leave No Trace, a non-profit organization that SmartWool has been partnering with for 13 years. Dean not only lent a hand, but also dropped some river stewardship knowledge as well as Leave No Trace principles.

It was a great day helping take care of such a vital part of our community, and a sobering reminder that what we do upstream has an impact on what happens downstream.

 
Cleaning up some areas required getting more than a little bit wet.

Cleaning up some areas required getting more than a little bit wet.

 
A full sweep with our favorite ski area in the background. Now this is why we live here.

A full sweep with our favorite ski area in the background. Now this is why we live here.

 
Different sections of the river called for different tools. Our friends at Hala Gear helped us get the right equipment.

Different sections of the river called for different tools. Our friends at Hala Gear helped us get the right equipment.

 
A river native catching a ride.

A river native catching a ride.

 
It’s usually a good idea to end the day with happy hour, so we headed to Sunpies Bistro for some Cajun Boil.

It’s usually a good idea to end the day with happy hour, so we headed to Sunpies Bistro for some Cajun Boil.