River's rising

High water is here on the Animas River, and with it comes more boaters and floaters.

Trash left near the river banks gets washed into the river, and it’s easier to flip craft and loose items that then wash up in eddies or onto the shore. So what’s to be found as you go down the Animas besides lots of wood? The ubiquitous flip-flop, water bottles, tennis balls, plastic bags/containers, etc. And, as commercial tourism ramps up, so do paddles, small craft and even people. So how can you help if you’re on the river?

Most importantly, if you see someone trying to get out of river, help them with a tow or get them in your boat if possible. People first, gear second. Next, if you can’t carry gear with you, throw it toward the side of the river so it will hopefully eddy out. For items in eddies, again, if you can’t carry them (like paddles or crafts), stick them upright on the shore so they can be seen easily. Or if smaller, then throw them higher on the shore so they don’t wash back into the river. Lastly, if it’s trash – like tarps, clothing or bags – pile it next to the river trail if on that side of the river. The City of Durango has regular patrols on the river trail that pick up trash. So help them find it, and help keep our river corridor cleaner and safer.

– Tim Thomas, Durango