Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Clean Sweep - Good Start

I have enjoyed paddling Jordan Lake weekly for years, always making it a habit to pick-up floating trash along the way. Last week, a member of a paddling group I'm in, suggested we get a group together for a clean-up of the shore.

It was easy to arrange donated bags and gloves, with a map and suggested area from the Waste Reduction Coordinator for Chatham County. We also contacted the Lake Park Rangers who thanked us for our efforts, and requested information on where we planned to clean, and asked for a bag count for the governor's office.

Seven paddlers showed, and 17 full garbage bags were collected. Sadly that amount was after only a couple hours and only a couple hundred yards of shore line. We picked up bottles, cans, styrofoam, bait containers, fishing line, diapers, an unbelievable number of plastic bags, and all sorts of other debris.


We had paddled out of Farrington Point, a popular kayak put-in, paddling left under the bridge, then just turned right and landed. Once we had as much as we could handle to get back with, we lashed them on our garbage scows (2 large rec boats) and towed them back to the ramp.


I think we were all a bit surprised at the large amount of garbage there was. Though we had quite a bit to show for our efforts, we barely put a dent in it. Seems a little thing to add a garbage bag to our regular paddling gear. There is no reason we all can't take a short walk picking up a few pieces of trash during lunch or rest breaks when out paddling and enjoying the lake. It's not hard to stow away one bag back to the put-in each time out.

4 comments:

Capt'n "O" Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

Wow! Great that you all got out for the clean up.

A dip of the paddle to your paddle group!

Anonymous said...

Dawn, a suggestion: send the picture
of you all towing the garbage scows to the State Parks people, the Wildlife Resources Commission AND the News and Observer. The N&O did a big series about trash in the Triangle a year or so ago. The picture is really striking.
The amount of trash at Jordan is overwhelming in the places where bank fishermen have access. You guys were noble to pick it up.
Ginger

Adam Bolonsky said...

Hi SandyBottom,
kudos to you all for hauling home that load of trash.

Every spring or so nspn.org does the same along the banks of the Mystic Lakes in Medford, Mass. where the club holds weekly rescue and rolling practice sessions.

Because the lakes are a public resource, a state agency provides shoreside truck pickup of the trash. Invariably we pick up hundreds of pounds of paper, plastic, beer cans, etc.

Two yacht clubs also abut the lake. Odd thing is how tough it has been to get their members to help out on our cleanup day.

As an aside, my nearhome waters, Boston Harbor, have become arguably the cleanest urban harbor in the US, roughly fifteen years after a court-ordered cleanup.

The National Park Service has since taken custody of the harbor's archipelago of roughly twenty wild and remote islands, siting rangers and docks and spotless tent camping areas.

There's now terrific paddling, camping, fishing and swimming out there...a destination I'd recommend to anyone who paddles and visits Boston.

Clubs that often paddle this lovely area are nspn.org, bskc.org, and wtpaddlers.org

Adam

Anonymous said...

Great job that, and a great recommendation. I've added a second trash bag to my hiking gear for other's people's trash some time ago and find that instead of being angry at other people for leaving trash behind, or at least in addition to that, I now feel good and righteous about myself as I pick it up. So we leave the places a little nicer than we found them...