BIG COAL RIVER — Over 85 volunteers from many small communities in Southern West Virginia came together to participate in an effort to rid the Big Coal River of Tires. The effort was sponsored by the Coal River Groups Big Coal Branch.
Teresa Perdue, a resident of Ashford, organized the clean up effort and helped to make the clean up a rousing success. Perdue and her extended family have led many similar efforts to improve the river and the community.
Most recently the efforts of the local citizens along with the Boone County Parks and Recreation Commission helped to build a large picnic shelter and provided playground equipment for the County Park located at near by in Dartmont.
“The Saturday tire cleanup was a massive effort aimed at removing a large accumulation of tires in the Big Coal River which flows through the local communities,” Perdue said.
The WV REAP program provided equipment, to harvest the collected tires. The volunteers included local families, children, local business owners, Coal River Group members from St. Albans and Tornado and others who just wanted to make the river shine, according to Perdue.
“The logistics for such a clean up on an isolated slow flowing river where difficult,” she explained. “Canoes and small flat bottom boats were the only way to transport the tires once collected. The organizers estimated that around 586 small big and huge tires were pulled from the river bed and then drug to waiting canoes. The volunteers were required to wade through the river bed and search for tires that had accumulated for over 20 years.”
The West Virginia Reap workers used winches and a small tractor to haul the tires up steep banks to a waiting transport truck.
“The job was hot, tiring and required strong backs,” Perdue added.
The objective, according to Perdue, was simply to, “Make the river shine…” so that local folks and the many new visitors who regularly paddle for recreation down the Coal River Group established Coal River Water trail.
“We love our river, we use it for recreation,” Perdue said. “It’s our Myrtle Beach, and we want the river to be clean and free of all litter.”
“Because of the efforts of so many volunteers, the Big Coal River in this area is now a shining example of how local citizens can make a huge change in their own communities” said Bill Currey, Chairman of the Coal River Group.
The tire clean up was supported heavily by local and regional businesses.
“The Whitesville State Bank provided water flasks, local Coal mines provided bottled water for the volunteers and ice and condiments were provided by the local ‘Country Store,’” Currey said. “West Virginia American Water Company provided a grant to the CRG which was used to purchase two large Work Canoes. The canoes were part of a 20 boat flotilla that was used to transport the collected tires to pick up sites on the river.”