Moab Solutions celebrates 10 years of volunteer cleanup work

Moab Solutions celebrated its 10th birthday on May 12. The group started as an all-volunteer venture called “Solutions,” and worked mainly on cleaning up the trails, streams and roadways throughout the Moab area while promoting reducing over recycling, and recycling over wasting.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash and recycling have been collected by Solutions volunteers over the years, Solutions founder Sara Melnicoff said in a news release.

The group’s first project, Friends of the Parkway, began in 2004 and is a collaboration with Moab city. In 2008, the group began working with the homeless who lived in camps along the parkway. Solutions started a weekly meet-up on the parkway, engaging the homeless in cleaning up the camps and teaching them how to sort and process recyclables. Those efforts caught the attention of the Bjorkman Foundation, which began providing small grants to help that program.

The homeless outreach led to partnerships with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Moab City Police, Seekhaven, Interact and concerned citizens and churches. The group helps connect people in need to rehabilitation options through the Salvation Army program and has provided training in “green” jobs, such as lawn care and recycling maintenance.

“Most of the [homeless] people are now in apartments, reunited with family or in rehab,” Melnicoff said.

Solutions also works to minimize illegal off-road damage and maximize recycling at Potato Salad Hill during “Jeep Week, and provides collection bins or recycle systems in public and private locations. Solutions also offers help to those who want to set up a recycling system for their home or office.

“We want to make recycling easier than wasting,” said Carol Hoggard, a Solutions board member and volunteer. “We hope that more and more people will take joyful responsibility for their own recycling, and see how easy it is to do.”

Mill Creek Partnership is one of the group’s biggest projects. The project focus is on restoring the canyon to its most natural state while “keeping it free and open for all to enjoy,” Melnicoff said.

To learn more about Moab Solutions, visit www.moab-solutions.org.