DENVER — It’s been one year since two women came together to form Destination Collection, a group effort to clean up the garbage build-up that has become a larger problem as Colorado’s population continues to grow.
"A lot more people, a lot more traffic, a lot more trash," said co-founder Melissa Krischuk. Formerly from Omaha, the pair moved to Denver nine years ago and has witnessed firsthand the population boom that has contributed to a mess of trash.
"Denver used to be a smaller city. I’m from Omaha and always said it was a larger Omaha, but now it’s like a smaller L.A. or New York," said Krischuk.
Co-founder Jessica Gould echoed the sentiment, saying growth is taking its toll on the city.
"I think the growth in Denver is amazing, but you just see people not cleaning up after themselves. You see homelessness and the impact it has on your favorite trails — Cherry Creek Trail being one of them," she said.
That trail was the focus of Sunday’s efforts, as more than 20 people teamed up to grab the garbage along an area that Gould says is "riddled with trash at all times."
Destination Collection gained more traction when a chance run-in with a government employee formed a partnership between the group and the city of Denver.
"We organized a cleanup at Red Rocks park and one of the park rangers was like, ‘What are you doing? We need help!’" Krischuk recalled. And the department of Parks and Recreation has been happy to help fund the women’s mission.
"They provide us with grabbers, they provide us bags, they provide us training," said Gould, who noted that important training includes instructions to keep hands off harmful items, including syringes, needles and even bullets.
As far as the next project Destination Collection will tackle, Gould says they’re always open to suggestions.
"We use our local group — our community — and we kind of chat: ‘Where have you been? Where do you think we should tackle?’" she said.
"We want to make sure that not only we can enjoy these destinations and these trails, but everybody that comes after us can enjoy them the same way," said Krischuk.
Destination Collection is constantly updating meeting times and dates for community members to pitch in and clean up Colorado.