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Volunteers needed to remove debris and improve the environment for people and salmon

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: SANDY RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL - More than 100 volunteers participated in the 2017 Salmon Headwaters Cleanup at Timberline Lodge, recovering 4 tons of trash.Want to have some fun and help the environment too?

On two Saturdays this month, volunteers will gather for the ninth-annual, two-day Timberline to Troutdale trash cleanups to remove debris from the Sandy River and its mountain headwaters.

The first volunteer effort on Saturday, Sept. 15, will focus on Mount Hood around Timberline Lodge. The second is Saturday, Sept. 22, and will be a floating cleanup on the Sandy River.

On Sept. 15, more than 100 volunteers are expected at Timberline Lodge, 27500 E. Timberline Road, above Government Camp.

"The amount of waste that we collect from these sensitive environments never ceases to amaze me," said Jocelyn Gary, who coordinates the Salmon Headwaters Cleanup for Project Snowrider.

Last year, 4 tons of trash were collected.

Volunteers will be greeted with hot coffee from Mt. Hood Coffee Roasters and snacks from New Seasons and Voodoo Doughnuts before they set out to remove trash in the headwaters of the Salmon River below the ski slopes. After the cleanup, Widmer Brewery will provide refreshments.

Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome. Organizers said participants should bring sturdy footwear, work gloves, a water bottle and appropriate clothing for mountain weather.

On Sept. 22, volunteers will do a floating cleanup of the lower Sandy River, sponsored by the city of Troutdale. Participants will meet at Lewis and Clark State Park, 1 Jordan Road, Troutdale, and carpool up to Dabney State Park and float back down collecting trash.

Guides from Stout Creek Outfitters provide raft seats for up to 50 volunteers and steer the rafts through the calm, shallow September waters of the lower Sandy. American Medical Response has lifeguards on kayaks for volunteers' safety.

This "allows people to enjoy a fun activity many otherwise wouldn't have access to, and to demonstrate their love for the river by picking up trash along the way," said Sara Ennis, Sandy River Watershed Council stewardship coordinator. "Several SRWC staff speak Spanish and are otherwise working on overcoming barriers to participation by diverse audiences by making events welcoming, family friendly, and assisting with carpooling."

Both events provide a critical service in removing trash that contaminates critical habitat for endangered salmon and scores of other sensitive species, organizers said.

The cleanups are arranged by The Sandy River Watershed Council, in partnership with the city of Troutdale, The Snowrider Project of the Surfrider Foundation, Portland Mountain Rescue, Oregon SOLVE, Oregon State Parks, Timberline Lodge and the U.S. Forest Service.  

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