April 12, 2010

Spring Cleaning on our Gateway to the River

Old Plank & River Road Clean-up
(Highway K to Party Corner - Port of Nashville)
April 12, 2010

text by Steve Schnarr

Well, it didn’t snow on Sunday, so we got together down at Cooper’s Landing and did our annual Old Plank & River Road Clean-up. In fact, I do believe we all broke a sweat or two!

This was our sixth year doing this whole 5 & a half mile stretch of road. Missouri River Relief adopted the River Road stretch from Cooper’s Landing to Easley back in the 2002. Then Melanie adopted a perennially trashy mile of Old Plank Rd. under the auspices of “River Folk of Cooper’s Landing”. The several miles connecting the two, along Smith Hatchery Road, we clean up just on general principle. An additional crew went down past Easley to “Party Corner”. Trash from the river always collects there at the mouth of the Bonne Femme Creek, and the partiers often leave a mess.

The river road is our gateway to the river around these parts and our hearts were growing heavy as spring came on and we hadn’t gotten a chance to spruce up the neighborhood due to snow being on the ground during the first two planned dates. As part of Boone County's Adopt-a-road program, we just have to pile the trash up by our adopt-a-road sign and they come pick it up for us! Thanks guys! We then hauled the recyclables to Columbia's co-mingled dumpsters.

A group of 31 friends met down at Cooper’s Landing in the morning, we split into three groups and divided and conquered. Naked Dave Bandy took a van-load up to Smith Hatchery Rd., a van-load took on Old Plank and Racin’ Dave drove his van and trailer to Party Corner with a crew. Patty Farrar had been working on removing a tire dump on Clubhouse Rd. She dug the tires out of the creek, then piled them up by the road. Brady and Joe Engeln headed up to Clubhouse first thing with a trailer and loaded them up. Then they proceeded to cruise along the rest of the route, picking up bags and whatever else we found!

Cleaning the same stretch of abused road annually is a sobering, frustrating but still gratifying tradition. It’s amazing how fast trash starts to accumulate, tossed without a care from car windows, purposefully dumped on the side of the road, or left in piles by folks that don’t want open containers or bait tubs in their car. But the act of getting out on a beautiful spring day, working hard for a few hours with friends and leaving the place more beautiful cannot be beat.

Plus, a clean-up followed by a brief hang at the Medfly and Robyn Ricks playing guitar and singing....priceless!

Here’s the trash tally for the day (diligently kept by our Quartermaster John Brady):

39 large stream team bags of trash
34 large bags of recyclables (glass, plastic, aluminum – our lowest number yet!)
15 tires
1 washer
1 TV/VCR combo
1 aluminum signpost
1 reflective barrier
1 set of couch cushions (no couch)
1 animal feeder
1 folding chair
1 clothes drying rack
1 A-shaped angle iron
1 mailbox post
1 electrical race corset w/track
1 plastic auto grille
10 feet of poly water tube
Part of a deck rail post
1 5-gallon bucket
1 vacuum filter
1 old barge cable
A lot of phonograph parts
1 foam football

We have estimated this trash tally is equal to 1.43 Tons!

Thanks to the many hands & efforts that made it possible. Also a special thanks to Mike Cooper for always graciously offereing to host us for a good meal, offer us water, a place to park our big ol' boats & anything else that may help River Relief get the job done!

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