Help needed for Big Clinch River Cleanup

Volunteers haul in literal boatloads of trash during the Big Clinch River Cleanup a year ago. Volunteers are needed again this year to work both above the waterline and in the water to maintain the Clinch River, a valuable local resource. — Frances Oates photo
This year’s Big Clinch River Cleanup on Saturday, July 21, is very shorthanded, as many of our regular participants are unavailable this summer.

There’s still time for volunteers to sign up for the sixth annual cleanup, which starts at 8 a.m. with a free breakfast at the scenic Museum of Appalachia, 2819 Andersonville Highway, Norris. 

The cleanup will wrap up about 2 p.m.

Everyone who enjoys the river, from anglers to kayakers to wildlife watchers, is invited to help remove litter from the Clinch and its banks. The communitywide cleanup is an expansion of annual pickups run for many years by members of the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited, which hosts the event. Last year, 103 volunteers gathered 75 tires and nearly 2,200 pounds of trash from the river.

Volunteers work in a variety of ways:

* Above the water line, workers walk along riverside roads and through parking areas, gathering trash.

* Volunteers wearing waders patrol for litter in shallow water.

* In kayaks and canoes, volunteers work to clean shorelines and shallow water where there is no public access by road.

* In powerboats and driftboats, volunteers haul tires and other items from the depths.

Support for all the teams is supplied by volunteering emergency medical people, ham radio operators, tire disposal professionals and workers with trucks who collect and dispose of filled trash bags.

The first 100 volunteers to register will qualify for a free full breakfast at the picturesque museum (expenses of the meal are supported by a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority).

To sign up, please visit and click on Big Cleanup Registration.

For more information, contact Rusty Hallett at or (859) 227-1227, or Dave Easter at or (859) 608-7090. The event will be held rain or shine (in case of severe weather, the breakfast will be held but volunteers will stay on shore).

Clinch River Chapter TU works to preserve and protect the Clinch River tailwater 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.