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Keep our parks and waterways clean

Now that it is officially spring, we hope that you will be able to use our park system more often. Unfortunately, now that spring rain has washed away the snow, we are left with lots of litter and debris in plain sight. This is garbage that we have been walking on and driving over throughout the winter months, it was just hidden by the snow. 

According to a report by the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, litter clean-up costs the United States more than $11 billion a year. In addition, debris throughout our park system will harm growing plant material and wildlife. During spring rains this litter is washed down storm drains and into our creeks and waterways.

Results from studies indicate that as much as 81% of observed littering acts are intentional. One of the strongest contributors to littering is the prevalence of existing litter. People are more likely to litter if a site already contains debris.

We recently received notice of a significant amount of garbage that was located in Indian Creek. Our parks crew adjusted their work plan for the week to quickly clean up the area. This involved traversing the area by canoe and picking up each piece of the debris by hand. We heard back from very happy users of this trail area, however, it isn’t always possible to prioritize litter removal over some of our more significant park maintenance projects. 

Preventing litter is the best way to keep our roads, sidewalks, parks and yards clean. We ask for your commitment going forward to put garbage and litter where it belongs, all year long. However, that still leaves us with some work to do. April is the designated Keep America Beautiful Month. Make a pledge to help clean up our parks in one of two easy ways:

  • Take the Challenge! Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids’ City Manager is challenging citizens to collect at least one bag of litter to help Clean Up CR. Pick up your litter collection kit at a designated Cedar Rapids Hy-Vee Food or Drug Store from their customer service counter. Fill the bag with litter. Then, set the full bag beside your GARBY cart on your normal collection day.


  • Gather a group of friends, co-workers, neighbors or members of an organization you belong to and schedule a volunteer clean-up at one of our parks. We will provide you with gloves, bags and an area to clean. Most organizations donate approximately 4 hours of their time. The combined efforts of many groups makes a significant impact. Call us at 286-5760 for more information.
  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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