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Getting INSPIREd

Participating in Creek Week is always a cool experience.  We get a chance to get outdoors, give back to the fly fishing community, and help conserve our fisheries. This year, there was an added bonus as the trash we picked up became part of a collaborative effort called the Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project. Art, nature conservation, and outdoor recreation all weaved into one big community effort to INSPIRE creativity, conservation, and community.


kenny amanda


I had the chance to chat with a couple of folks during our clean-up of Pikes Peak’s north slope reservoirs.  A few years ago, Kenny and Amanda Cleghorne came out with their then-15 year old son to do some community service.  Three years later, the son has pursued other interests but Kenny and Amanda continue to come to Crystal Reservoir and the Catamount reservoirs on Pikes Peak.  “We enjoy this every year.  We’re just grateful to be able to come to Pikes Peak and this gives us a chance to give back.”  


Brandon and Deric came out this year because they’ve noticed over the past couple of years that the amount of trash has grown.  Deric has fished in the region for a few years and said that “a couple of years ago, there wasn’t so much trash.  Way more trash now.”  


Brandon and Deric took out part of their Sunday morning to help clean up their public lands.

The crew sorts through the trash collected at Crystal and the Catamount Reservoirs.


As the population around the Pikes Peak region grows, so does the number of people accessing our public lands.  As Jon Easdon, Director of Services at Angler’s Covey and organizer of the shop’s Creek Week activities, says “these are our lands.  We own this land.”  And as owners of public lands, we also hold some responsibility for their care.


I talked to three of our younger clean-up crew, the future generation of public land owners. Madeline Easdon, 7 years old, and her little sister, Ava, told me why came out on this Sunday morning.  “We want the mountains to be clean,” Ava said. And her big sister echoed the same idea. “This is my second year.  I clean up so that the water doesn’t get polluted. The fish would be endangered.  And the coyotes.”  


Their friend, Abby Brenner, says that cleaning up means that animals “will have better places to live.”



Creek Week clean-up also contributed to the efforts of the Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project.  The project was spear-headed by the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance(PPORA) and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region(COPPeR). Other groups participating in the effort were the Colorado Springs office of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural ServicesConcrete Couch;The Greenway Fund; and the Fountain Creek Watershed.


The goal of the project was to gather litter from our local outdoor recreation areas and spell out the word INSPIRE.  


The community groups wanted to INSPIRE …

  • Artistic creativity
  • Passion for the outdoors
  • Environmental stewardship

The final installation of the word was coordinated by Steve Wood, Director and Founder of Concrete Couch, and his student volunteers who repurposed recycled steel rods and chicken wire to form the letters.

Becky Leinweber, Mayor John Suthers, and Andy Vick

launch Arts Month and the Pikes Peak Litter Letter Project.



On Wednesday, October 3rd, the word was unveiled at a ceremony at the corner of Highway 24 and 21t Street.  Andy Vick, Executive Director of COPPeR, pointed out that the COPPeR office reached out to PPORA for a joint effort tto bring arts awareness and the outdoor recreational community together.  He then introduced Colorado Springs’ Mayor John Suthers who said  ‘The creativity behind this effort is truly inspiring, the effort put in by so many people to clean up our city.”  


Finally, Becky Leinweber, the Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance said that “this is a partnership unlike any other in the country.”


The Colorado Springs’s area, and the broader Pikes Peak region, is experiencing tremendous growth as people discover the beauty of the area.  It’s going to be through these collaborative efforts that we continue to create a community that is rich in the arts, cultural events, and the stewardship of our natural surroundings.


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