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West Jordan Journal

Volunteers Clean, Celebrate Jordan River

Jun 14, 2016 09:43AM ● By Tori La Rue

A South Jordan Parks and Recreation employee and two volunteers from Wells Fargo case a tree by the Jordan River with wire netting to keep beavers from gnawing on it. –Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Hundreds of volunteers participated in the third annual Get Into the River festival conservation day along the Jordan River Parkway trail May 12, and hundreds more came out to the conservation celebration May 14.

“Fortunately, there are so many people working on helping the river right now, and as more people understand recreational possibilities we’ll have clean water and clean river,” Denise Winslow, who spearheaded the event, said. “We want to make people aware of the river and parkway because it is there and can be treasure to our community.” 

As the regional community affairs manager for Wells Fargo, Winslow, sets up community projects for the employees within her branches. While setting up Jordan River cleaning canoeing expeditions for Wells Fargo employees through an organization called SPLORE, she came up with the idea of gathering a large number of organizations to help in a giant conservation day. This idea led to the creation of the Get Into the River celebration. 

Wells Fargo, and more than 20 other organizations, businesses and municipalities organized 17 conservation projects and eleven celebrations as part of this year’s Get Into the River. 

“I always love these kind of projects,” Karen Nelson, volunteer, said. “I bike this trail all of the time, so it’s nice to give back.”

Nelson worked with 20 volunteers, most from Wells Fargo, and employees of the South Jordan Parks and Recreation department to remove two kinds of weeds from the area surrounding the trail and river to the East of Mulligans Golf and Games at 692 West 10600 South. These volunteers also put wire cages around the Cottonwood trees in the area to keep beavers from gnawing on them. 

Katie Lindquist, South Jordan’s event lead for the festival, said she’d love to spend every day maintaining the trails, because she believes they are a great asset to the community. 

“When we rounded up the volunteers at the beginning of the project, I asked how many of them used the trail, and not a lot of them raised their hands,” Lindquist said. “I think people just don’t realize that it is there for them to use, so they don’t seek it out. I think getting people out here to help and seeing the news coverage will help more people to utilize it.” 

Jonathan Cantrell, volunteer, said he forgets about the trail from time to time and said the conservation day and festival are a good reminder. 

“I’m used to just sitting indoors all day typing,” said Cantrell, who works for Wells Fargo’s email department. “It’s different and really, really fun to volunteer and to put forth an effort to try to keep this area clean.” 

In addition to cleaning the trail and grass area bordering the river, four volunteer groups kayaked through the river, picking up trash as they went. Signups were required for these projects, and two of them were full a week before the event. 

Two days after the conservation day, hundreds of residents came out to Get Into the River’s eleven celebrations that spanned from North Salt Lake City to Draper. Most activities began around 9 a.m. and ended around 1 p.m.

West Jordan City’s celebration at 1100 West 7800 South included the Mayor’s Mile race, a free fun run for children under 14.  Participants won if they outran West Jordan’s mayor, Kim Rolfe. At the same location, residents were invited to contribute to a chalk art mural. The Jordan Valley Water Conservancy offered garden walks, a composting class and a lawn care class at their celebration in West Jordan at 1300 West 8275 South. 

South Jordan City also participated in the festivities. Their celebration included information booths about the Jordan River and a fishing contest for children 11 and under at 11267 River Front Parkway. 

A final concert at Utah State Fair Park Amphitheatre, located at 155 North 1000 West, was the final celebration in the festival. From 7 to 9 p.m., Holy Water Buffalo and Hollering Pines performed and boat rides and food trucks were available. 

The final concert was new this year, and Winslow said she’s brainstorming ideas for Get Into the River’s 2017 festivities.

“I think we’ll get more demonstrations of recreation like kayaking and canoeing out on the river,” she said. “That will make people aware of the river parkway that is accessible to them all the way from Davis County to Utah County.”