Great American River Clean-Up 2021

On Saturday, September 18, 2021, more than 800 local residents removed 23,000 pounds of trash along the river in the span of just three hours for the annual Great American River Clean-Up (GARCU) in conjunction with the California Coastal Commission’s annual statewide clean up event. Volunteers of all ages gathered to collect trash and debris from Discovery Park to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Not only is trash unsightly for American River Parkway visitors, it pollutes our waterways, disturbs natural habitats and harms wildlife.

The total weight of garbage collected was the equivalent of about a school bus! Amidst this massive haul were some unusual items, including a prom dress, a yarn voodoo doll and a side chair with matching ottoman.

The 2021 GARCU event was held from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at 17 different locations along the 23-mile long Parkway. Participating groups included:

Sacramento Valley Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

Employees of Hearst Broadcasting

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Members Church of God International


CGI Consulting

Metro Edge

Sacramento Association of Realtors

Student Action Club at Del Oro

Sac State Student Environmental Organization

Sac State Community Engagement Center

Girl Scout Troop 3997

Students of Jesuit High School

Gold River Community Association

GARCU is our largest annual clean-up event. For nearly 40 years, we have invited the community to take part in this statewide movement that mobilizes tens of thousands of volunteers throughout California to clean up trash from local beaches, lakes and waterways.

In past years, up to 2,100 local volunteers have come out to help remove debris from multiple areas along the river, highlighting why the Parkway is the greatest civic amenity in this region.

Our financial sponsors are an important part of APRF volunteer efforts, providing funds for supplies, such as trash bags, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer, first aid kits, water and snacks. For more information about volunteering for or sponsoring a Parkway clean up event, please contact us at (916) 486-2773 or email

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