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Martinez Canyon cleanup continues

There has been significant citizen effort to clean up Martinez Canyon in the Trails and Chris Mountain Subdivision.

For the past several years, some people have been using Martinez Canyon as an illegal dumping ground. Old vehicles, appliances, furniture, construction material, household trash and sundry other types of debris have been discarded in this beautiful canyon; resulting in dangerous, unsightly and hazardous conditions for the environment, the animals that inhabit the area, and the people downstream who potentially could be affected by this water source.

Several weeks ago a group of some 40 volunteers from the Martinez Canyon Cleanup Taskforce (MCC Taskforce) focused their efforts in cleaning the top section of Martinez Canyon (in Trails and Chris Mountain subdivisions) following a barbecue to thank the volunteers. According to Tonya Hamilton, one of the volunteers, the cleanup work was a huge success and all the trash at the top of the canyon was collected and properly disposed of.

The MCC Taskforce volunteers were given logistical support from a number of local businesses and organizations: At-Your-Disposal donated a Dumpster and hauled all the trash collected to the landfill at no charge; G&I Services provided a portable toilet for the cleanup crew; Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association and City Market donated food for the picnic, the Pagosa Fire Protection District donated all the bottled water and Archuleta County Commissioners waived the landfill fees.

Approximately five to six yards or trash was collected and hauled off of the ridge of the canyon, and a large amount of scrap lumber was moved to another location for burning.

The time and hard work put forth by the volunteers are greatly appreciated. It is estimated that a complete cleanup in the canyon could take up to five years.

There is a need for more volunteers and if you would like to be a part of MCC Taskforce, or if you would like more information, please call Alex Martinez (946-0892), Margaret Gallegos (264-2970) or Tonya Hamilton (769-4219).

To date, one person has been prosecuted and found guilty. Other perpetrators are being actively pursued. “Our message is simple: This will not be tolerated anymore and violators will be charged and prosecuted when caught,” said Hamilton.

To put a halt to this inexcusable dumping, your help is needed. The following are some ways you can assist.

• Watch for vehicles traveling on the north end of Trails Boulevard and Sam Houston Avenue, especially trucks or vehicles that appear to have a load of trash. There are very few homes at the north end, so there should be very little traffic.

• If you see a vehicle off the roadway or traveling across private lots, they are trespassing. The majority of the dumping is taking place from an access point off Martin Court; however, there are several other areas that have been used, as well.

• If you see suspicious activity, be a good witness. Do not approach the vehicle or parties in question. Simply get a license plate number, description of the vehicle and the people involved if you can. Then call county dispatch at 264-2131 as soon as possible with your observations. All the sheriff’s deputies have been informed of the situation and will respond.

The greenbelts are accessible to Pagosa Lakes property owners for their common use, enjoyment and benefit. The Martinez Canyon greenbelt, in particular, is often used by people for the purposes of walking, hiking and biking. If you do see people on the greenbelt and around the canyon area, they are not necessarily doing anything wrong. However, if you see a vehicle off the roadway on private lots, on the greenbelt or near the canyon, then they are trespassing and should be reported immediately.

• Watch for campfires — day or night. This illegal use of the canyon can lead to littering as well as the possibility of a fire getting out of control. Again, report any suspicious activity to county dispatch at the sheriff’s office (264-2131).