Bo Reynolds, biological technician with the Hiwassee State Park, said trash builds up throughout the year on the river, its banks and surrounding areas.
“The trash pollutes not only our eyes, but the waterways themselves,” Reynolds said.
Each volunteer will be given four to five trash bags. Reynolds said volunteers will then be separated into various groups to tackle the cleanup.
“We will usually line Highway 30, Spring Creek Road, Upper Hiwassee River, or along the Forest Service road,” Reynolds said.
Terry McDonald, U.S. Forest Service public affairs staff officer, said a lot of debris and trash is removed from along the shore of the Hiwassee River.
“We do this yearly and there seems to be a pretty big buildup [of trash] every year,” McDonald said.
He said they appreciate those who are willing to lend a hand.
“It helps us a lot,” McDonald said. “It is a beautiful river and we want to keep it beautiful.”
The event receives 30 volunteers each year on average. Reynolds said 60 volunteers would be the ideal number for effective trash removal. He said picking up trash to place in the landfill is important for the river’s water system.
According to a U.S. Forest Service press release, participants should bring long sleeve shirts, thick leather gloves, safety glasses and either boots or sturdy shoes.
Reynolds said the boots are important as volunteers may be walking along banks and through the brush.
Those interested will meet at the Ocoee/Hiwassee State Park Office at 9 a.m. According ot the press release, “The office is located on Spring Creek Road just north of the Hiwassee River and east of Highway 411. The turn off from Highway 14 is signed and is approximately 6 miles north of Benton and 5 miles south of Etowah.”
The event is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee Valley Authority and Trout Unlimited.
A lunch will be provided for volunteers. Reynolds said the cookout will be held at the Hiwassee picnic area.
“We really rely and appreciate the volunteers because they give up a day to come help for a worthy cause,” McDonald said.