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Avoid (but report) illegal camps, Creek Week Cleanup volunteers being told

If Creek Week volunteers encounter illegal camps, such as this previous one on Fountain Creek near Highway 24, they are being directed to stay away but report them to authorities.
Westside Pioneer file photo
El Paso County is seeking volunteers for its fourth annual Creek Week Cleanup Sept. 30 to Oct. 8.
       However, there will be no advance effort by authorities to dislodge illegal camps along the Fountain Creek watershed, and cleanup crew leaders who encounter them are being instructed to stay clear but report them.
       “This is a huge concern of ours, as the numbers of transient camps are at their peak,” said Allison Plute of Colorado Springs Utilities, who serves as the Fountain Creek Watershed Project manager and Creek Week chair. “Safety has always been paramount, and we will require mandatory training for any creek crew leader this year to review information/protocol.
       “Essentially, we ask volunteers to steer clear of anything that looks like a camp, stay close to the trail, and to utilize the GoCoSprings app to report those locations,” Plute explained.
       She was responding to a Westside Pioneer question about whether the Colorado Springs Police HOT Team would be removing creekside camps in advance of the cleanup effort, as reportedly has been done in the past.
       “Unfortunately, there are only four HOT Team members for the entire city and they are unable to manage the sites in collaboration with the landowners (City/County Parks, Utilities, CDOT, etc.),” Plute said. “This issue is very complex and we are beyond overdue to have it addressed by leadership.”
       To be part of the cleanup, which is focused on litter, people are encouraged to form teams and go to fountaincreekweek.com. The goal is to “engage 3,000 volunteers in this monumental effort,” Plute said.
       For more information, the e-mail address is creekweeksoco@gmail.com.

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 9/20/17; Outdoors: General)

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