Skip to Content

Big South Fork Kayaking Cleanup Saturday

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Big South Fork Kayaking Cleanup Saturday

An annual river cleanup event featuring volunteers who kayak and collect garbage deep in the river takes place Saturday at Big South Fork.

Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning (TCWP) Board President Mark Bevelhimer said the event is a joint effort with the East Tennessee Whitewater Club, and the National Park Service. Bevelhimer said the goal of the event is to protect the river and encourage locals to take better care of it.

“It makes the experience a lot better when you don’t see trash and tires alongside the road,” Bevelhimer said. “We hope that, to raise some awareness to the citizens up there that, you know, these rivers need people to look out for them and, you know, do the best they can not to contribute to the problem any worse than it is.”

Bevelhimer said the park service provides large rafts and people to row them in order to carry the large amounts of trash that are collected throughout the day. He said volunteer kayakers will collect trash and bring them to the rafts, jumping out of their kayaks as needed.

“We float down a half-day float, kind of down through this stretch of river, and pick up a boatload – several boatloads of trash,” Bevelhimer said.

Bevelhimer said said the park service determines the date and location of the event, which is sometimes held in the Obed Wild and Scenic River depending on how dirty the different areas are each year.

“They’ve got the big equipment,” Bevelhimer said. “They’ve got some rafts, and they’ve got the ability to have trucks that’ll haul away the trash at the end of the day. And so they kind of coordinate it and we help get the word out for the most part.”

He said anyone interested in the event is welcome to come as long as they are comfortable with a more advanced kayaking route.

“For this particular river, it does take sort of a class three or class four whitewater ability, so it’s a little more difficult than some of the other places we clean up,” Bevelhimer said. “But for people that are familiar with the river, we’d sure love to have some more people come help.”

Bevelhimer said the annual event has been going on for around fifteen years. The event takes place from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

“We do it once a year, but sometimes there’s other informal river cleanups on some of the other little creeks and stuff,” Bevelhimer said.

He said one of the reasons the TCWP was formed around fifty years ago was to help preserve the Obed Wild and Scenic River.

“It started mostly with the cleanup on the Obed, but some years, since we work with the park and the park manages both places, we help them at Big South Fork as well,” Bevelhimer said.


The post Big South Fork Kayaking Cleanup Saturday appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.