The public is invited to a cleanup effort on the Wenatchee River Saturday. It'll be the first event of its kind since 2014. 

Residents can help with the cleanup, and also learn how to enjoy the river while appreciating the dangers it presents. 

Chelan County Natural Resources specialist Lisa Dowling says they're hoping to reach out to people who don't normally spend time on the river. 

"The farmworker communities and the Latinx, Spanish speaking communities who historically have not been engaged successfully, and who may not have equitable access to the river resources," said Dowling. 

Nine local vendors that support healthy rivers will be set up at Riverfront Park in Cashmere during the river cleanup and the public celebration afterwards on Saturday. 

Image of the Wenatchee River from Chelan County
Image of the Wenatchee River from Chelan County

Anyone can participate in the cleanup, either from the shore at Riverfront Park in Cashmere, or in a raft on the river.  

Dowling says the gathering will serve two purposes. 

"One is to help clean our river and protect that ecosystem, but then also to educate all of the communities that live around the Wenatchee Valley, about how to safely recreate on the river and protect the river," Dowling said. 

There'll be a contest with prizes to motivate volunteers to get as much garbage and debris off the river as possible.  For example, prizes will be awarded to the group which gets the most plastic debris off of the river.  

Volunteers can join groups involved in a Restore the Shore effort to collect trash and debris along the shoreline. 

They can also take part in cleanup on the river itself. There'll be two rafts with professional guides floating in two different sections of the river.  

One raft will float the river from Dryden to Cashmere while the other one will start in Cashmere and continue to Monitor. 

The Cashmere to Monitor leg is designed for beginners and people who've never floated on the river. The Dryden to Cashmere leg will require a higher skill level 

Both floating groups will meet at 9:30 a.m., gathering at put-in locations. 

Action Rafting Company and River Recreation Washington Whitewater Rafting Company are partnering to help with the rafting cleanup. 

At the end of their cleanup efforts, all volunteers will gather for a community appreciation celebration.  

 There'll be free food along with entertainment from mariachi bands and folklorico dance groups.  

 The celebration is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Riverfront Park at 210 Riverside Drive in Cashmere.  

Among the vendors set up in the park will be the National Audubon Society, Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers, Wenatchee Row & Paddle Club, CAFÉ, Wenatchee River Institute, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and the Indigenous Roots and Reparation Foundation. 

The cleanup is being hosted by the Chelan County Department of Natural Resources and Parque Padrinos of Wenatchee and is being paid for by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology. 

Registration for the rafting cleanup is here. 

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