Two more clean-ups scheduled include ivy pull from 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 28 at Elk Rock Island

The problem with trash piling up in the Three Creeks Natural Area is that once the rains start all that garbage will be washed into Mt. Scott Creek, and in turn will end up in the Willamette River, Matt Jordan told the 21 volunteers who gathered for a cleanup of the site on Oct. 14.

PHOTO BY MARK GAMBA - Fog blanketed the lowlands during the Three Creeks Natural Area cleanup on Oct. 14, lending Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba's photograph a painterly look. Jordan, the natural area program coordinator for the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, and Curtis Moss, an NCPRD natural area technician, organized the cleanup and briefed volunteers on safety measures.

Then everyone grabbed trash bags, donned gloves and set off into the natural area, near the North Clackamas Aquatic Park on Southeast Harmony Road.

During the event, Moss said that the Three Creeks Natural Area was cleaner than he had seen it for awhile, but he still managed to take his group to a site where there was plenty of trash, glass shards and cigarette butts.

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Mark Rowland, left, and Dick Shook gather trash during the Three Creeks Natural Area cleanup on Oct. 14. The concrete wall behind them is covered with colorful graffiti. Four high school students were part of the cleanup and they all said they were there to support the community.

Milwaukie High School student Karla Cacho, 15, said she especially wanted to help the environment, as did La Salle High School student Ethan Cook, 15, who attended the event with his father, Steve Cook.

Clackamas High School students Sophia DiNucci, 16, and Sydney Johnson, 16, were at the event representing National Honor Society.

DiNucci said young people should get involved with activities like this one to serve the environment, while Johnson noted that it is important to be part of the community you live in.

Illegal campsites

Mark Rowland, who is now retired, joined the clean-up because he has fond memories of the area.

"I walked here because it provided a beautiful place to walk at lunch time. It is so good to see it again after five years," he said.

He noted that once when he walked in the natural area it was full of shopping carts and illegal campsites, but now it looks cleaner.

"There have always been campsites here, but this year is better, because we are managing it," Moss said.

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - La Salle High School student Ethan Cook and his father Steve Cook found a few bits of trash to pick up during the Three Creeks Natural Area cleanup on Oct. 14.He added that there are fewer illegal campers at Three Creeks now, "because we have eyes on it quite a bit."

Upcoming events

NCPRD has two more clean-ups scheduled in upcoming weeks. The first is an ivy pull from 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 28 at Elk Rock Island. Volunteers are asked to meet at Spring Park, at Southeast Sparrow Street at Southeast 19th Avenue, in Milwaukie. Tools and gloves will be provided; dress for the weather.

The second event, a trail work day, will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 4 at Mt. Talbert Nature Park. Volunteers will meet at Mather Trail Head, 10695 S.E. Mather Road, in Happy Valley. Tools, gloves and refreshments are provided. Come dressed appropriately for outdoor activities in potentially inclement weather.

To RSVP, contact Matt Jordan, NCPRD natural area program coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-742-4357.

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