Base Camp Cullowhee looking for Tuck River Cleanup volunteers

The 34th annual Tuck River Cleanup, hosted by Western Carolina University’s Base Camp Cullowhee and completely volunteer driven, will be held Saturday, April 14.

Nearly 27 miles of the Tuckaseigee River in the vicinity of WCU is targeted for the daylong trash pick-up. The scenic waterway is nationally recognized as an outdoor recreation destination, with fishing, canoe and raft trips, and family-oriented activities available.

Tuck River Cleanup participants should register the day of the event at a sign-in station by the Alumni Tower on campus. The first 500 participants will receive a free T-shirt. Base Camp Cullowhee, WCU’s outdoor programming organization, will provide rafting participants with a paddle, personal flotation device, trash bags, raft and transportation to and from the river. There is an alternative walking route for anyone preferring not to be on the river.

Volunteers who participate by raft have to weigh at least 40 pounds, should wear shoes that won’t come off in the water (such as tennis shoes or sandals with a back strap) and are encouraged to eat before registering. Rafts are self-guided and no coolers or alcohol will be allowed.

Event schedule:

  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Registration
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Transportation to the river
  • 2 to 5 p.m. – Transportation from the river
  • 2 to 6 p.m. – Free food and entertainment, drawings for prizes donated by local businesses

About 1,000 volunteers will remove tons of garbage from the Tuckaseigee River on April 14.

“The Tuck River Cleanup is a tradition for the community ― on campus and off ― that reflects the responsibility and stewardship of the community,” said Kay Tufts, assistant director with Base Camp Cullowhee and an event organizer. “It is encouraging to see upwards of 1,000 volunteers come together every year to clean up something that is ours and we can share pride in.”

The event started small, with a group of WCU students and staff who recognized the need to clean up the river, and has gained strength every year to be one of the nation’s largest such cleanups with community groups and local residents taking part. “Participation has doubled in the past dozen years, which means the amount of trash we can collect has potentially doubled as well,” Tufts said.

Major sponsors include Duke Energy, Catamount Peaks, Republic Services, The Sylva Herald, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Wildwater, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Dillsboro River Company, Pepsi, Jackson County Travel and Tourism, and WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee, Division of Student Affairs, Campus Recreation Center and Student Government Association.

For more information about the Tuck River Cleanup, contact Tufts at or 828-227-8804.