Earth Day volunteers clear Cloquet parks, trails of trash

The Boldt Co. plans to make the event an annual tradition in the city and donated equipment to help the city plan similar cleanups throughout the year.

Bob Nelson, of Cloquet, reaches to grab a piece of trash from the St. Louis River near Spafford Park Campground during an Earth Day cleanup event Saturday, April 24, 2021. (Jamey Malcomb /

Fifty people fanned out across Cloquet for an Earth Day cleanup of the city’s parks and trails Saturday, April 24.

Volunteers met at the Dunlap Island warming house and armed with garbage pickers, bags and buckets they cleared debris from the banks of the St. Louis River and from the trails that criss-cross the city landscape.

Despite cool temperatures and a wintry mix falling, people from across the state came to the event to help keep clear public areas of trash.

“It’s great to be able to help out,” Joel Danko, of Eagan, Minnesota, said.

The Boldt Co. sponsored the cleanup. Jonathan Ballmer, Boldt’s business development manager in Cloquet, said volunteers collected more than 200 pounds of trash citywide during the two-hour event.


Cloquet Community Development Director Holly Hansen works to pick up a car windshield she found during an Earth Day Clean up event Saturday, April 24, 2021, near Highway 33 and the St. Louis River. (Jamey Malcomb /

Cloquet Community Development Holly Hansen, whose department partnered with Boldt in planning the cleanup, found an entire car windshield near the Minnesota Highway 33 bridge over the St. Louis River. Hansen rolled up the largest part of the windshield and then spent time picking up the shattered glass left on the ground.

Ballmer said he had hoped for about 100 people to attend, but was happy with the turnout considering the inclement weather.

When the volunteers returned to the Dunlap Island Warming House, staff from Carmen’s Bar and Restaurant grilled hamburgers for a post-cleanup picnic.

Ballmer said Boldt plans to make the Earth Day cleanup an annual event in Cloquet, but they also donated buckets and garbage pickers so the city can continue the cleanups throughout the year.

Tripp Row (center) and sister Ada Row head back to their car after picking up litter in an Earth Day cleanup event Saturday, April 24, 2021, on the trails near the St. Louis River in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb /


Levi Danko, 6, of Eagan, Minn., cleans up trash Saturday, April 24, 2021, on Minnesota Highway 33 in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb /

Camille Wilton makes her way through the brush on the banks of the St. Louis River during an Earth Day cleanup event Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Cloquet. (Jamey Malcomb /

Lauren Ballmer (right) and Isaac Ballmer search for litter along Minnesota Highway 33 in Cloquet during an Earth Day cleanup event Saturday, April 24, 2021. (Jamey Malcomb /

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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