ASHFORD — A tire clean-up in Ashford in the Big Coal River last week resulted in only 200 tires picked up.
“That’s good news” says Teresa Perdue, organizer of the Big Coal River Branch project.
The Branch is a committee of the Coal River Group that has worked for over 10 years to cleanup and to restore the Coal Rivers.
Perdue, along with over 40 local citizens, worked with the WV DEP R.E.A.P. program employees to tackle the difficult job of pulling tires, trash and metal from the mountain stream.
“We picked up over 500 tires in 2012 when we conducted a tire cleanup in this same 1.5 mile stretch. The fact that we got 200 tires this year means we are making progress,” Perdue said.
“The event takes a lot of organization and it couldn’t be done without the help of the WV DEP R.E.A.P program,” Perdue added. “These guys bring all the equipment necessary to safely conduct a community event like the one at Ashford. They deserve a lot of credit for helping us work safely and they haul off all the stuff we pick up.”
“The event brings together so many people who want to help and they all work hard”, Perdue says.
The event this year filled a 20-ton R.E.A.P. trailer with tires and metal.
The boats used for the pick-up work were provided by the Coal River Group and R.E.A.P.
The workers walk the shallow river bed and pull the waste out and load it into the large flat bottom boats and canoes. Once these boats are filled, the trash is deposited at pre-arranged locations where the R.E.A.P. workers used sophisticated winches and collection nets to haul it up the steep banks and load it into waiting trucks.
“The cleanup of the Coal Rivers is our number one priority,” says Perdue. “We have so many people, nowadays, paddling the rivers, swimming and fishing in our area, it is only right that they have a clean and attractive river to enjoy. That is what the Big Coal River Branch of the Coal River Group is all about and together we are making much progress.”
Of course a picnic that included many delicious deserts was organized by the members of the Big Coal River Branch following the hard work, Perdue said.
“Food is always an integral part of community projects in Boone County and this year’s event utilized the newly built and expanded Dartmont Park picnic shelters to host the workers,” she explained. “The Boone County Parks and Recreation Commission has expanded the small park to provide a river front walkway and benches, a concession stand and a fully-equipped shelter that seats over 50 people.”
She said the newly expanded facility offers bathrooms and ceiling fans to make the visitors feel at home.
“We are so proud of the way the Boone County Commission and the BCPRC have joined with us to provide our small community with a first class outdoor recreation center,” says Perdue.
Statewide, litter cleanups sponsored by the state departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation removed more than 600,000 pounds of trash from West Virginia’s landscape this past spring.
Numbers were recently finalized for the state’s “Make It Shine” and “Adopt-A-Highway” April cleanups. Both events rely heavily on volunteer efforts for their success and this spring more than 9,000 West Virginians participated in cleanups that yielded more than 300 tons of litter.
“We could not accomplish the great things these programs do without dedicated West Virginia citizens, who spend their free time picking up litter along our roadways and streams,” said Danny Haught, chief of the DEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan (REAP), which oversees the programs. “West Virginians are proud of their state and its beauty and understand the importance of keeping it clean.”
The Make It Shine cleanup ran the first two weeks of April and attracted 5,217 volunteers. There was at least one cleanup in each of the state’s 55 counties and volunteers removed 380,474 pounds of trash from roadways, streams, trails and parks. They also collected 2,429 discarded tires.
The official Adopt-A-Highway cleanup day was April 26. A total of 3,880 volunteers, representing 460 groups, combed 1,085 miles of West Virginia’s roadways. They collected 259,945 pounds of litter.
(Fred Pace is the Editor for the Coal Valley News. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-369-1165, or on Twitter @fcpace62)