River cleanup set for Saturday

After cleaning trash out of the Tuckaseigee River, participants in the cleanup will enjoy a free cookout on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center.

After cleaning trash out of the Tuckaseigee River, participants in the cleanup will enjoy a free cook-out on the lawn of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Western Carolina University’s Base Camp Cullowhee will present the 26th annual Tuckaseigee River Cleanup on Saturday, April 17, and is looking for volunteers to help remove a year’s accumulation of trash from a section of the river in Jackson County.

Registration for groups and individual volunteers will be on the A.K. Hinds University Center lawn from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. After registering, volunteers will be issued a life jacket and paddle. Base Camp Cullowhee will provide transportation to the river, where participants will listen to a safety talk and receive trash bags.

After working to clean up the river, all volunteers are invited back to the University Center lawn for a free cook-out, live entertainment and the chance to win door prizes donated by local businesses. Winners must be present to receive door prizes. The first 600 volunteers to register will receive a free T-shirt. Volunteers should wear old clothing and bring gloves to protect their hands. No rafting experience is required for those working in the river.

“The Tuckaseigee River Cleanup is the largest single day river cleanup in the nation. Hundreds of concerned volunteers came out every year to show their support,” said Jennifer Bennett, assistant director of outdoor programs.

“The cleanup provides an opportunity for students and community members to work side-by-side and sometimes in the same raft for a common goal. The Tuckaseigee is a resource that is important to students who are just now experiencing Western North Carolina, and to residents who have been recreating on the river for years, and it’s awesome to see everyone come together and work so hard,” said Bennett.

The cleanup was originally organized 26 years ago by the students and staff of WCU’s outdoor programs. It consisted of a small group of concerned volunteers who recognized the need to remove trash from the river.

For more information, contact Bennett at 828-227-3625 or visit the Web site at basecamp.wcu.edu.