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Natural Areas

 Contact Information

Dept Director
  •   8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (M-F, except for holidays)

Interested in cleaning up your local Natural Areas?

The Natural Areas Department currently works with volunteers in two different ways to perform trash cleanups:

  • Individuals or groups can join us on Monthly Trash Pick Ups to various Natural Areas around town - May to October - registration required, sign up at
  • Community members can pick up trash on their own by following the guidelines below.

Trash Pick Up Safety & FAQs

What areas can I make the biggest impact with my trash cleanup?

Here are the top five Natural Areas that generally accumulate trash throughout the year:

Arapaho Bend

Mallards Nest

Riverbend Ponds


Shields St River Access (over to North Shields Ponds)

Fortunately, our local natural areas do not have a lot of trash. You can also make a big impact in areas such as your place of business, a local school or neighborhood. Please get permission before entering these areas.

Please note: The City of Fort Collins contracts with a private firm to perform trash cleanups along the Poudre River between Lemay Ave and College Ave. These areas are off limits for volunteer trash cleanups.

What should I bring to a trash cleanup?

Wear sturdy garden gloves.
Wear thick-soled, closed-toe shoes.
Wear a hat and sunglasses.
Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to avoid contact with poison ivy.
Wear safety vests at all times (for youth groups and cleanups near roads).
Wear sunscreen and bug repellant.
Bring a reusable water bottle and a light snack. Be sure to dispose of your trash properly.

Where do I leave my trash bags?

Do your best to recycle - damaged or wet recyclable materials must go in the trash bin.

Tie your bag and leave next to the nearest trail head trash bin.

If you come across large items - report in Access Fort Collins.

To help the City keep track of the type of trash you are finding - we encourage you do download the Litterati app to document your findings.

What do I do if I come across unsafe items during my trash cleanup?

If you are with a City staff member or Volunteer Crew Leader - tell them immediately.

If you are not - please report to Access Fort Collins.

Other Resources - 

Natural Areas Ranger: (970) 416-2147

Park Ranger: (970) 566-1112

Police Non-Emergency line: (970) 419-3273

Things to know before you go!

Check trail conditions before you head out on your trash pick up to ensure parking lots are not full and/or a natural area is closed.

Do your best to stay on trail and respect the natural area during your clean up.

If you have 15 or more people in your group, a permit is required.

Find Out More about Trash Pick Ups on Natural Areas

Diane Ernst