With fall in the air the salmon will soon be headed upstream and the anglers will be headed downstream and each will enjoy cleaner waters and a better view thanks to a communal river clean up event that took place on September 10. This year volunteers tackled a longer stretch of the Rogue; gathering debris from the boat launch at the Dam all the way down to Dodge Bridge.
The event was the very definition of a “group effort” with four area groups pitching in. The Upper Rogue Watershed Association and The Guides Association organized and oversaw the event. Guides also donated 7 drift boats for the day. The Rogue Flyfishers set up and ran the BBQ held at Jackson County Upper Rogue River Park, and SOLV (Stop Oregon Litter & Vandalism) donated trash bags and manpower.
Not to be left out, lots of entities and businesses lent a hand as well! The City of Shady donated $200.00 for food (via reimbursement) and Councilor Jim Ulrich (also an URWA board member) helped with food preparation and manned the event from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. Fire Department 4 lent Captain John Burns to the cause; he gave a safety speech to volunteers in the morning and helped haul FD4 chairs over to the BBQ in the afternoon. The Upper Rogue Community Center donated additional food for the feast, Rogue River Lodge offered free sodas to volunteers as they floated by, Shady Cove Market donated $50.00, Rapid Pleasure Rafting donated a raft for the day, Jackson County provided free parking for volunteers and Southern Oregon Sanitation brought in and hauled away a big trash bin free of charge.
Individual volunteers floated the river gathering debris from cans and fishing line to runaway paddles and even a lawn chair! Others braved the 90 degree heat and hit high traffic areas (i.e. the Slide Hole and the Cove) on foot. Overall the 35 volunteers collected approximately 11 cubic feet (3,500 lbs) of trash that was hauled away by SOS; proof positive that when a whole lot of people get together for a good cause, a whole lot can be accomplished!
Preparations for next year’s cleanup are already underway and will include ways to keep trash out of the river to begin with (i.e. strategic places for new trash receptacles and possibly “ port o pottie”s on shore) as well as an end of summer clean up. Though it seems everyone participated this year, if you somehow missed out it’s not too late to get on board for 2012!
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent