With culverts clogged and roads covered in dirt following a thrash of winter storms, the residents of Star Valley took matters into their own hands last weekend and organized a volunteer clean up.
Latigo Lane resident Bernadette Heath explained that thanks to record rainfall in January, neighborhood gravel roads looked like the Grand Canyon and close to 50 families who live or travel gravel roads in Star Valley were stranded.
“Neighbors got together out of necessity,” Heath said. “A meeting was called, a road maintenance committee elected and the work began. First was the plan followed by volunteers stepping forward to do the plan.”
Beginning Thursday, neighbors started cleaning out culverts and cutting back brush.
“Trenches needed digging out again so shovels, rakes and sharpshooters along with backhoes and men and women that could use the tools got down and dirty attacking the work,” Heath said. “By Saturday, 18 men and eight women had showed up for work all equipped with the proper tools for improving drainage, removing plants from shoulders, crowning roads, cleaning trenches, removing packed dirt off blacktop and screening and packing dirt.
The Hellsgate Fire Department cleaned out packed culverts and the town of Star Valley provided safety signs.
Mayor Bill Rappaport said because the roads are privately owned, the town cannot fix them up, but they are able to offer road signs.
“I think it is great, what they are doing,” Rappaport said. “I support them.”
A potluck lunch was served to all who volunteered. Neighbors set up a tent, tables, chairs and offered food.
“Neighbors got to meet neighbors, share a hamburger, beans, taco and fruit salad topped off with cookies and something cold to drink,” Heath said. “Our road maintenance volunteer project was a huge success and a good time for one and all, even our teens.”