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South Salt Lake Journal

South Salt Lake helps host Earth Day cleanup

May 06, 2024 03:21PM ● By Bailey Chism

Volunteers gathered hundreds of pounds of trash during South Salt Lake and partners’ Earth Day cleanup event. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Dane)

South Salt Lake partnered up with 10 programs and cities to host a cleanup of the Jordan River on Earth Day. 

Officials asked residents to join them in biking around the river and removing trash and invasive species from the Jordan River Trail. 

“Keeping it clean from trash and invasive weeds enhances the experience for everyone,” said Joseph Dane, public outreach coordinator. “The best defense against trash and weeds is human power—education to prevent littering, and good ole sweat equity to pick up trash and pull weeds.”

Volunteers brought their bikes and rode along the trail to designated cleanup stations, where they had tents set up to safely leave bikes. It’s a 10-mile round trip around the trail to the Tracy Aviary Jordan River Nature Center, where an Earth Day celebration was held after the cleanup. By removing trash, volunteers helped preserve the unique ecosystem and make it safer for both trail users and wildlife. 

“Earth Day is important so that we can celebrate, raise awareness, and learn together about how we can care for the planet and its many inhabitants,” said Marissa Beckstrom, the director of the nature center. 

The Jordan River features many Utah native species and provides beautiful recreational opportunities for trail users. The Jordan River Parkway is the longest paved urban trail in the United States, with over 60 miles of following the Jordan River to the Great Salt Lake. The Jordan River Parkway trail meanders past many historical and recreational landmarks that provide both relaxation and activities for those utilizing the Jordan River Parkway.

“It can be a little scary and stressful to know how to get involved in environmental activism and community science,” Beckstrom said. “Our Party for the Planet event is a way to meet neighbors and organizations involved in this cause. Pia Okwai (The Jordan River) is a vital resource for all of us and for the future of The Great Salt Lake, so this is our chance to learn more and invest in a healthier river.”

South Salt Lake is not the only city aware of the harm trash can cause to the environment, so city officials partnered up with several other cities and programs to put together this volunteer event. 

“We understand it’s a massive undertaking for the County to maintain every inch of the trail, which is why South Salt Lake, Salt Lake City Public Lands, and West Valley City are joining to host this cleanup along our respective sections of the trail,” Dane said. 

The celebration featured a prize drawing and food. The Tracy Aviary invited the Utes Dancers to perform The Bear Dance, and there was also a yoga class, cloud watching and a writer’s workshop. Tracy Aviary tours were available to see the updates taking place. 

The following Tuesday, April 24 the Jordan River Commission held a canoe river cleanup for Earth Day. Jordan River Commission team provided the canoes, paddles and tools for the cleaning. λ