Volunteers to help clean up the bosque

Posted at: 05/02/2013 5:39 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s spring cleaning time for the Rio Grande bosque in Albuquerque.

Community groups are teaming up with the city Open Space Department for a big volunteer cleanup on Saturday, May 11.  That’s National River Cleanup Day and the timing couldn’t be better.  Wintertime was warm and dry, with more people than usual outdoors and way too many of them left way too much trash behind in the bosque, the riverside forest that runs through the heart of Albuquerque.

“Some parts are dirtier than others,” said bosque hiker Harvey Saavedra. “I bring my kids here and I take them fishing up and down the river and they see all the trash and litter. It’s really not good. I don’t like my kids to see all that.”

KOB Eyewitness News 4 found plastic water and soda pop bottles, paper sacks that once held hamburgers and fries, empty half pints of cheap booze on a short stretch of trail just south of the Central Avenue bridge.

KOB 4 also found cigarette butts - fresh cigarette butts among the weeds and dead leaves on the ground in a forest that is drought-dry and ready to burn with the slightest spark.

There are campsites where homeless people have been sleeping at night with small campfires for warmth and light. Each has piles of discarded clothing and empty cans.

“Sometimes in areas like the picnic tables they throw trash there,” said bosque runner Raymond Chavez. “It’s like they’re not trying to make an effort to clean up their mess.”

The big cleanup starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, on the north side of Central Avenue, just east of the bridge. Parking is on the other side of Central at Tingley Beach.