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YRPC Give Back to Community in River Clean-Up

Salt River Young River People's Council and EPNR get ready to clean the river banks of the Verde and Salt Rivers.

Members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Young River People’s Council participated in their sixth year of cleaning up the Verde and Salt Rivers with the help of the SRPMIC Community Development Department, Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Division.

The cleanup took place on the morning of July 19. Youth piled into the van around 7:45 a.m. and traveled to the river, where they were given instruction on what they would be doing that morning.

For the past six years, the YRPC has been teaming up with EPNR to help clean the river. They were provided with river rafts, a canoe, trash grabbers, life vests, trash bags and safety guidance. Also, the Salt River Fire Department was there to ensure the safety of the participants.

As youth put on their sunscreen and life vests, they were ecstatic about getting to float down the river and clean it at the same time.

“This was my third year attending the river cleanup,” said Sommer Lopez, 17, YRPC president. “There was not much trash in the areas [where we were]; maybe [that] means people have been cleaning up after themselves. However, we did find a little bit of trash on the land.

The YRPC get familiar with the river rafts as they float down the Verde River picking up trash.
“Besides picking up trash, it was a fun experience attempting to float down the river without washing away or getting caught in some trees. I am thankful for this opportunity that EPNR has provided us with and I hope to do more activities similar to this that save our land.”

YRPC Vice-President Caleb Dash, 16, thought the river cleanup was really amazing.

“I’ve always seen the trash at the river whenever I go camping there, and it gets annoying to see. When I finally got the opportunity to clean it up along the banks, it was an awesome and fun experience. Overall it was a wonderful trip and an event that I really enjoyed.”

In their six years of river cleanups, the YRPC has collected a total of 135 large bags of trash.