Students invited to help clean up Ogden River

Ogden offers its residents outdoor sports, dining and its own university. This weekend, students and residents have a chance to give back to the city by joining local business Gear:30 during the Ogden River Cleanup Project.

Gear:30 is teaming up with the Utah Whitewater Club and Western Waters Resource to help keep the Ogden River clean and litter-free. The project needs 150-200 people to help scour the riverbanks from Slackwater, a gastropub located on 19th and Washington Boulevard, to the confluence behind the Walmart at Crystal Wave. Volunteers are to meet Saturday at 9 a.m. at Gear:30, located at 1931 S. Washington Blvd.

“Unfortunately, this geographic area is disrespected by individuals who trash the river with shopping carts and junk,” said Brandon Long, an employee at Gear:30 who is helping run the event. “The Ogden River Restoration Project members worked hard a few years ago to bring the Ogden River back to life, and the community is best served if we can work together to keep it clean.”

The Ogden River is home to the 9.6-mile Ogden River Parkway and some of Ogden’s most significant venues, including the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, the Ogden Pioneer Stadium, and several parks and restaurants that depend on the river.

“In speaking with Justin Gumm, the owner of Slackwater, he said he’s pulled out multiple shopping carts from the river,” Long said. “That’s not good.”

One of river’s highlights is the Kayak Park, the first professionally designed play park in Utah.

“This is our favorite place to train,” said Ogden resident Mae Thompson. “They have made some great improvements in the area, and I am happy to call Ogden home. I had my first kayak experience on the Ogden River; it’s a great place for beginners to get used to concepts.”

Danielle Aranda, zoology and botany major at Weber State University, said she feels strongly about the conservation of Utah’s environment, especially the water.

“We are inhabitants of a mountainous desert,” she said. “Water here is beyond important; it dictates where we build our cities, our homes, and where we choose to spend our summer days with friends and family. Utah is also a very important stop to migratory birds that travel the world to Mexico, Canada and more. If we pollute the waterways here in Utah, our effect is far greater than most of the general public realizes.”

Fishermen also find solace on the banks of the river. Gregory Chapman is a local fisherman who spends his weekends fishing in his favorite spot, just a 10-minute walk from his house.

“This is my escape,” Chapman said. “I walk down here on a Sunday afternoon and fish. I don’t always catch something, but it’s relaxing. I notice more trash floating down the river at the end of the summer. But during the spring it’s very nice.”

Gear:30 is asking students to reach out to their friends and family on social media to spread the word about the project.

”Students have vast connections and are mostly tuned into what’s happening, so a social push for the event would help tremendously,” Long said. “Tag #OgdenRiver, #OgdenRiverCleanUp and @GEAR_30.”

The project will run from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday.

“We are an integral part of the cycle of life,” Aranda said. “We made all of the trash that ends up in the river; it is up to us, for the sake of our delicately balanced ecosystem, to clean up our mess for future generations to enjoy this valley that we settled so long ago.”

More information is available on Gear:30’s Facebook page and at 801-732-5870.