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3:14 p.m. July 16, 2014
Great success for Big Clinch River cleanup

big clinch river cleanup
Kenny Reed with his load of litter put the lie to anybody who might have thought a paddleboard would be useless at a cleanup. Image by Frances Hamilton Oates.

KNOXVILLE — The second annual Big Clinch River Cleanup was a great success this year. Sunny weather and a year’s experience helped advance scores significantly over those of 2013. The event was sponsored by the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited.

According to chairman Buzz Buffington "We had a great cleanup! The number of volunteers increased by one-third; powerboats, canoes and kayaks doubled; and clear water helped us quadruple the number of tires removed," to 314. "In addition, 45 bags of trash and two pickup loads of metal and junk were removed. We found car parts, road signs, kids' toys -- everything you can imagine."

The 105 volunteers started their day on Saturday, July 12, by stoking up on breakfast in the rustic setting of the Museum of Appalachia, then worked in teams of walkers, waders, paddlers and powerboats to remove litter and old tires from the Clinch River shoreline, the shallows and deep water. The cleanup covered about 4 miles of river and shoreline from Miller Island to the Peach Orchard boat access, with additional litter pickup onshore as far downstream as the Highway 61 bridge.

Workers included Anderson County residents plus many volunteers from Knoxville and the wider region. Cooperating in the effort were canoeists, kayakers, anglers and professional fishing guides headed by Mike Bone of Andersonville ( Reinforcements also arrived from the Little River and Great Smoky Mountains chapters of Trout Unlimited.

kenny reed
Kenny Reed with his load of litter put the lie to anybody who might have thought a paddleboard would be useless at a cleanup. Image by Frances Hamilton Oates.

Emergency services were provided by the Anderson County Rescue Squad and several ham radio operators who volunteered to provide emergency communications. Although their services were not needed during the event, they were greatly appreciated.

Bingham Tire of Clinton trucked away the tires; Anderson County Solid Waste Management removed the trash; Tennessee Valley Authority kept the river level low and granted funds to help with event costs. Both TVA and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provided boats and volunteers. The 3 Rivers Angler fly shop in Knoxville hosted a charity event publicizing the cleanup and raising money for it. Keep Anderson County Beautiful donated equipment and Museum of Appalachia supplied a beautiful setting for the kickoff breakfast hosted by Clinch River Chapter.

Before expanding their efforts into a community wide event, members of the Clinch River Chapter had conducted smaller river cleanups since 2000, collecting tons of trash and thousands of tires over the years. The chapter's mission is to conserve and protect the Clinch River tailwater trout fishery and its watershed, through conservation projects and through education of children and adults in aquatic natural resources. Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month in the parish hall at St. Francis Episcopal Church, Norris, except when outdoor activities are scheduled. For more information, visit

Published July 16, 2014

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