By Lora Scripps
Running through the western portion of Limestone County before it meets the Tennessee River, the Elk River serves many as a getaway, others for adventure, some as their source of livelihood. Most importantly, it serves as a water supply.
Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, in cooperation with the Tennessee Valley Authority, will host a cleanup of Limestone County’s 21.9-mile Elk River Canoe and Kayak Trail on Saturday, March 8.
KALB hopes to have an army of volunteers scouring the Elk River and surrounding land areas searching for trash and debris.
“There are areas along this trail that are marred by dumping, careless littering and graffiti,” KALB Executive Coordinator Lynne Hart said. “This area is on the National Trail Registry and as a community we should take pride in this beautiful treasure.”
KALB is currently seeking interested individuals and groups to work with the organization and TVA to clean up the river, which organizers said, “provides the water we drink, recreation and beauty.”
Volunteers will be provided trash bags, gloves, bottled water and lunch, sponsored by the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association.
Courtesy of a TVA sponsorship, KALB is also offering cash prizes to participating groups.
Organizers said it is a great opportunity for clubs and school groups to gain community service hours and possibly win cash.
All trash removed from the river and surrounding land areas by participating groups will be weighed. The groups removing the most pounds of trash and debris will receive $250 for first place, $150 for second and $100 for third.
The deadline to enter the group contest is Monday, March 2.
There is also an individual contest. The individual with the closest guess to the total pounds of trashed removed will win $50. Cleanup volunteers guess for free. Others can pay $1 per guess, which organizers said allows everyone to get involved in the cleanup. Proceeds will be used to purchase supplies for future cleanups.
To make a guess prior to the cleanup, visit the KALB office at 125 East St., or the KALB booth at the Limestone County Home and Garden Show, March 1-2, at The Event Center on Pryor Street.
• All groups must complete a registration form to be entered in the contest.
• Any groups with members under age 18 must have an adult leader accompany them on cleanup day.
• Anyone under 18 must also have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian before participating. Children age 8 and younger must have a parent or adult present in addition to the adult leader.
• Links to registration and consent forms can be found at www.KALBCares.com.
“The Elk River belongs to all of us,” Hart said. “Let’s work together to take care of it.”
To find out how to get involved, call 256-233-8728 or email KALBCares@gmail.com.