Big river cleanup coming up Saturday

The annual Tuckaseigee River

The annual Tuckaseigee River Cleanup gives volunteers an opportunity to enjoy a day on the river while doing a good deed.

Western Carolina University’s Base Camp Cullowhee will present the 27th annual Tuckaseigee River Cleanup on Saturday, April 16, and is looking for volunteers to help remove trash from part of the river in Jackson County.

Registration for groups 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.

Volunteers must weight at least 40 pounds to be allowed in a raft. Walking trails are available for those who do not meet the requirements or who do not want to raft. Rafts are self-guided.

After working to clean up the river, volunteers are invited back to the University Center lawn for a free cookout, live entertainment and the chance to win prizes donated by local businesses.

The first 600 volunteers to register will receive free T-shirts. Volunteers should wear old clothing and shoes that will not come off in the water. No prior rafting experience is required for those working in the river.

The Tuckaseigee River Cleanup is the largest single-day effort to clean up a river in the country. The event drew more than 600 volunteers in 2010 who removed about five tons of garbage from 27 miles of the river. The event was originally organized 27 years ago by the students and staff of WCU’s Outdoor Programs and consisted of concerned volunteers who recognized the need to clean up the river.

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