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Volunteers helped clean up trash at Runyon Lake in Pueblo

Trash at Runyon Lake
Trash Clean Up
Posted at 6:31 PM, Jul 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-30 00:54:56-04

PUEBLO, Colorado — PUEBLO– Members of the Pueblo County government and city residents volunteered at Runyon Lake for a community clean up. Pueblo County's Treasurer, Kim Archuletta organized the clean up on Saturday. The lake has recently become a hotbed for drug abuse, public dumping, and littering.

People used large trash bags and buckets to pick up trash along the shore. Glass, plastic, styrofoam and other garbage was scattered on the ground and in the water.

One community volunteer was Devin Bermen. Bermen has been visiting Runyon Lake his whole life.

“The first fish I ever caught was actually in Runyon lake. So this means a lot to me coming out here to help clean up and everything,” Bermen said.

Bremen said he is happy to help and thinks other people in the community should too.

“It's our civic responsibility as citizens here in Pueblo County or the City of Pueblo to come clean up areas like this,” Bermen said.

Many families and visitors come to the lake for the fishing, biking trails, and to walk around the lake. But it's hard to ignore all the trash and sharp glass on the ground.

“I found tons of Styrofoam cups, plates, plastic lids, plastic cups, straws, fishing wire, fishing bait, empty jars, you find alcohol bottles, of course, and unfortunately needles. So pretty much just about anything,” Archuletta said.

Bermen said Runyon Lake used to not be such a mess.

“In the more recent years it has gotten worse in this area and it's very unfortunate that it was closed for a while,” Bermen said.

The lake is a part of a flood control system managed by the pueblo conservancy district, but that district doesn't have the staff or money to patrol the area.

For eight days in July, the entrance gate to the park was closed. They also shuttered the public restrooms all in an attempt to curb the problems.

Archuletta said if the garbage and drug use continues to be an issue at the lake, it could be closed again.

“If it becomes obviously a health hazard or an environmental hazard due to the amount of trash and paraphernalia down here, I think when it becomes, you know, not safe or healthy for anyone to be down here. And that's probably where the line will be drawn,” Archuletta said.

Archuletta is encouraging lake visitors to take responsibility for keeping the area clean.

“We can do better, this is something that we all like to enjoy, and you can't really enjoy it if there's a ton of trash down here,” Archuletta said.

The Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder, Candace Rivera said it is important to take care of this unique part of Pueblo.

“This lake is very important to the Pueblo Community. My family and I fish here a lot. We love Runyon Lake and it is a beautiful area for our community to enjoy the outdoors,” Rivera said.

Rivera said she knows there is a lot of trash and work to be done, but she believes with community involvement and hard work, it is possible.

“We have to work hard and work together. And we can do this, we can make Pueblo a better place,” Rivera said.

The Pueblo County Treasurer, calls on people to do their part by picking up after themselves and throwing away trash when they see it. She hopes the lake can be cleaned up so everyone in Pueblo can enjoy it for years to come.
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