Volunteers for the Forest Service gathered over Labor Day weekend to put up gabion baskets, install signs and scrub off graffiti from the East Verde Estates river access point off of Highway 87.
“Our efforts helped erosion from vehicles driving too close to the river,” said Rachel Hohl, a Forest Service officer in the recreation department. She and Chelsea Muise have organized a cadre of volunteers over the past year to help clean up the forest.
The group has cleaned up everything from household cast offs to ammunition to bottles from all types of alcohol. They have worked on sections of the forest from Doll Baby Ranch Road to the Jim Jones Shooting Range south of Payson.
“This time we wanted to do something other than pick up trash,” said Hohl.
The gabion baskets are wire mesh surrounding rebar supports sunk into the soil, then filled with rocks. These baskets keep motorists from driving certain places.
Signs warn motorists to stay away from the river’s edge.
Hohl and Muise hope to host another clean-up day in January or February, weather permitting.