Cameron Smyth | Are you ready to join the city’s River Rally?

Volunteers committed to the preservation of their environment and the beautification of their city came to Newhall Saturday morning to participate in the River Rally. September 21, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
—Martin Luther King Jr.

Volunteering is an essential part of life in Santa Clarita. In addition to performing work that positively impacts our community, volunteering is also a valuable opportunity to engage with your community, cultivate lasting friendships and improve your mental health.

As we approach the latter part of 2021, we look forward to bringing back one of our favorite environmentally focused opportunities to volunteer in Santa Clarita.

The 26th annual River Rally Clean-up and Environmental Expo will return on Sept. 18. Since we were unable to meet in person last year, the Santa Clara River could use a helping hand to stay clean. Not only is the Santa Clara River one of the last free-flowing natural river systems in Southern California, but it also recharges our groundwater and is home to several endangered species, including the California condor, the stickleback fish and the red-legged frog. We owe it to our animal friends to look after their home.

Because the city’s storm drain system flows directly into the Santa Clara River, many items left in the streets end up in the riverbed. Items like bottles, cans, straws, take-out bags and other items are found in the riverbed by our volunteers during the River Rally. In addition to these common items, large bulky items, including shopping carts, furniture and even a mattress, have been found during previous events. We are thankful for our volunteers who have helped in years past, and we hope you can make it out to this year’s event whether you are a first-time volunteer or a returning River Rally steward.

If you are interested in participating in the River Rally event, please visit and pre-register to volunteer by Sept. 17.

The latest health protocols from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will be observed throughout the event. During this event, we require our volunteers to wear closed-toe shoes and dress in clothes that can get dirty. Wearing sunscreen and a hat are highly encouraged. While water will be provided for volunteers, we ask you to bring a reusable water bottle from home to stay hydrated and reduce waste.

After a brief training, volunteers will be given a bag and gloves to collect trash. Multiple drop-off stations will be positioned throughout the riverbed to gather the collected trash, and city staff will be available to answer questions or provide assistance.

If you have been to the River Rally before, you can expect the same educational discussions and materials that can be found at the Environmental Expo. After a day of picking up trash in the Santa Clara River, volunteers can explore nearly two dozen booths filled with nonprofits, community groups and governmental organizations offering tips on conserving our local watershed, pollution prevention, recycling and much more. After checking out the Environmental Expo, make sure to pick up this year’s giveaway item while supplies last.

There truly is something for everyone at the River Rally, and I encourage you and your families to volunteer for what will be a great opportunity to connect with nature and demonstrate the value of volunteering and environmental stewardship to your family, friends and community.
For more information about the River Rally and other ways to keep Santa Clarita clean and green, please visit If you have questions about volunteer registration, contact [email protected] or 661-250-3708. We look forward to seeing you and your family and friends at the 26th annual River Rally Cleanup and Environmental Expo!

Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council.

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