Chokecherry Canyon cleanup event tops list of Earth Day activities in San Juan County

Cleanup events, other activities planned in Farmington, Bloomfield and on Navajo Nation

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — More than 100 people are expected to gather at the Glade Run Recreation Area north of Farmington this weekend to take part in a large community cleanup event at Chokecherry Canyon, part of a series of activities being held to celebrate Earth Day throughout San Juan County.

Allen Elmore, a member of the Cliffhangers Four Wheel Drive Club and the organizer of the event, said volunteers will meet at the Brown Springs Campground at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 23 before being dispatched to parts of Chokecherry Canyon to pick up trash. The campground is located 2.7 miles north of Pinon Hills Boulevard on Glade Road.

Dumpsters from Waste Management will be placed at the campground, and volunteers will be provided with all the trash bags they need. Volunteers will receive raffle tickets for every bag of trash they bring to the Dumpsters, and when the cleanup is over at 4 p.m., they will return to the campground for drawings for gift cards for food, drink and services at businesses throughout the Farmington area.

Chokecherry Canyon in the Glade Run Recreation Area north of Farmington will be the site of a cleanup event on Saturday, April 23 for Earth Day.

Everyone who takes part in the event will be fed lunch, and refreshments will be available throughout the day.

Elmore said two cleanup events a year are held in Chokecherry Canyon, resulting in approximately 20 tons of trash being collected annually.

This is the 11th year Elmore has been involved with the cleanup efforts, but he said their origin goes back to at least the 1990s. He said there have been some years when nearly 200 people have taken part.

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"We bumped up our marketing this year on social media, so hopefully there will be a little bit bigger crowd," he said, acknowledging that there is never any shortage of trash to be picked up from Chokecherry Canyon.

Anyone who wishes to take part does not need to commit to working all day, he said.

Volunteers helping to clean up Chokecherry Canyon on April 23 for Earth Day will be fed lunch and will have the chance to win various prizes in raffle drawings.

"They can come any time of day and leave any time of day," he said.

Elmore does recommend that all volunteers bring comfortable footwear and plenty of sunscreen.

Call Elmore at 505-686-3831 for more information.

Several other community events held in conjunction with Earth Day will take place that day, as well.

Tse Alnaozti'i Chapter of the Navajo Nation in Sanostee

The Tse Alnaozti'i Chapter of the Navajo Nation in Sanostee will present a free community cleanup day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Tse Alnaozti'i Chapter house. Trash bags will be available at the chapter house. No tires or chemicals will be accepted, but appliances will be.

Sheep Springs Chapter house

The Sheep Springs Chapter house will present its Earth Day Community Cleanup event at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Sheep Springs Chapter house on the Navajo Nation. Lunch and incentives will be provided to all volunteers who sign in between 8 and 8:30 a.m. A commercial garbage bin will be located at the chapter house, and volunteers will be given trash collection kits.

Bloomfield Public Library

The Bloomfield Public Library, 333 S. 1st St., will present its Earth Day Walk/Run at 9 a.m. Saturday. Registration starts at 8 a.m. The cost is one can of food for the ECHO Food Bank. Refreshments will be provided. T-shirts will be provided to the first 30 people who enter, and the top eight finishers will receive water bottles.

Riverside Nature Center in Animas Park

Finally, the Riverside Nature Center in Animas Park off Browning Parkway in Farmington is planning an Earth Day celebration at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Visitors will have the chance to create art from recycled materials, learn about curbside recycling, take a guided trail walk, learn about a Xeriscape garden and try other activities with the nature center staff and volunteers from the parks department.

Admission is free. Call 505-599-1422.

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Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription: