No, that is not my shopping list for a home renovation, believe it or not, this is a partial list of the junk we found during the White River cleanup last Saturday! The list also includes over 20 car tires (some still on the rims), a couple of truck tires, ½ of a boat, a chair, part of a dock, and mounds of trash! All in, our crew of 14 hauled an estimated ¾ of a ton of trash and debris out of a 2 mile section of the White River.
For our Fall Cleanup we joined forces with groups across four counties that worked to remove over TWENTY TONS of trash, two and half tons of recyclable metals and several hundred tires. What is absolutely mind boggling, is that this was the 15th annual clean up…you’d think we would run out of crap to pick up…but no…people keep tossing in more junk. Some of this stuff is thrown off of bridges or down embankments, purposely tossed into the river. Other stuff comes from parking lots, roads, and fields where people throw out their trash and it washes into the rivers. What really scares me is that this 20 tons of trash is only the stuff we can SEE. What about all of the crap that is either buried in the river bottom or in water too deep to spot it…or what about the stuff we can’t see because it is chemical in nature?
I could go on and on…but what I really wanted to do was to thank the 14 people that gave up 5 or 6 hours of a gorgeous September Saturday morning to provide the muscle needed to accomplish this daunting task! Our 11 canoeists were ably supported by a land crew of three that helped shuttle us along the route and made sure lunch was ready when we were finished. The 11 members of the water crew weere in six canoes (thanks Alan for volunteering to go solo!) and had a fantastic barge provided by the City of Noblesville. Within the first quarter mile we had amassed so much stuff, we had to offload the barge and a couple of canoes at the 206th bridge, where a group of boy scouts helped to move it to the dumpsters.
Before we had gone much further, the barge was again loaded down with enough junk that it could not be towed behind a canoe. So Skipper Scott Martin hopped aboard, sat on an over turned barrel and PADDLED the barge downstream. It looked like the Beverly Hillbillies on their way to Hollywood! After piling on the dock, an erosion tarp, and a half dozen more tires, even Skipper Martin couldn’t steer the load. Yours truly grabbed a rope and pulled the barge downstream towards the finish, aided by some pushing from the team of Brown and Brown. After a mile or so, 51 year old legs and lungs gave out, and Skipper Martin grabbed the rope and finished the journey.
About a half dozen of the tires we collected had to be hauled out of the river more than once. Within sight of the take out, a stack of tires shifted in one of the canoes…sending them, other trash, and the pilot of the vessel into the water.
After a little over three hours, we arrived at the take out, unloaded the canoes and barge and hauled our collection up the banks where employees of the City of Noblesville loaded the refuse into trucks for its trip the main collection site.
Many, many thanks to the canoe crew of: Scott Martin, Carrie Tarver, Don Weiser, Jamal Handy, Alan Francoeur, Rick Brown, Cody Brown, Brad Ton, JT Ton, and Carmen Ton. Thanks also to our land crew: Andrea Osman, Mary Ellen Ton, and Gene Ton. In addition to the donations of time and muscle, we were supported by a group of sponsors who helped by providing much needed financial support. The sponsors helped to provide lunch, t-shirts and prizes for the event. Many thanks to Elements Engineering, Ron West, Nishida Services, Arete Software, Cisco Systems, Brad Real, and ROI-LLC!