February 19, 2013

Home Port Tradition

9th Annual Old Plank & River Road Clean-up
Cooper's Landing - Easley & Columbia, MO
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Text by Steve Schnarr, photos by Racin' Dave Stevens, Trash Tally by Ruthie Moccia

As winter nears its end and the ditches begin to fill with a year’s worth of throwaway trash, we get itchy to get out and clean up our gateway to the river here in Southern Boone County, MO.
We basically wait until the first “free” weekend with relatively good weather and no snow on the ground. Then, the Wednesday before, we put out the word….It’s the Old Plank and River Road Clean-up! 

We always get a great crowd, even at the last minute. Folks is ready!

Folks bring trucks and vans and trailers, kiddos, their personal favorite trash grabbing utensils, something warm to share and plenty of pent-up winter trash getting energy.

This was our 9th year in a row cleaning up this stretch of road. There tends to be less trash every year, but it’s still amazing how much there is. One thing that never changes is how good it feels to clean it up. 

We start at the intersection of Route K and Old Plank Rd (south of Columbia) and walk all the way to Cooper’s Landing. Actually we divide and conquer. It takes four or five groups of people to cover those five miles. We’ve only adopted 1.5 of those miles, but we always were over-achievers and figure we ought to cover the whole thing. Then we also send a group to cover the River Road and Katy Trail from Cooper’s Landing to Easley (another mile). If we have enough folks and vehicles, we also send a group toward “Party Corner” in the Wilton Bottoms, where they always find a bunch of junk to clean-up (plus at the Bonne Femme Bridge). We collect all the trash in two different kinds of bags – one type for recyclables (which get taken to the Columbia Municipal Recycling bins) and one type for general trash. 

This year we got it all! And, as always, it was just a bizarre mix of stuff that had been tossed along our roads and river in a year…but mostly beer and liquor bottles and cans, cigarette butts and packs and, of course, little bits of plastic and food wrappers. There’s one road sign that is always surrounding by a crowd of bottles (target practice). There’s that mysterious conglomeration of beer cans that seem to be about a 12 ounce drive from the nearest convenience store. And there’s that spot on the river where some Mountain Dew drinker (and Camel smoker) likes to have lunch. Ugh!!!!
And then there’s the big, weird stuff. A toilet. A basketball goal, net and pole. The metal frame from a hide-a-bed. How can there be all this stuff….every year? 

A big thanks to all of you that could come and help – that’s exactly what it takes. After loading up our trailers, we headed to our Club Medfly for some hot food, cold drinks and a little relaxation. A group photo by the trash, then we sort it all out into piles…a trailer full of recyclables and a giant pile of junk by our Adopt-A-Road sign (to be hauled off by the awesome Boone County Public Works crew). 

This year we were blessed by beautiful weather, sunshine, and a flock of gulls to watch flit along the river. 

The cleanup season has begun!

Just part of the cleanup crew...Riverbillies and River Relief!
Here’s the trash tally, as diligently recorded by the lovely Ruthie Moccia!

Trash Tally!
58 bags trash
68 bags recyclables
box fan
plant hanger
large red cooler
tackle box
matching set of deer antlers
microwave oven
5 gallon red gas can

5 gallon metal bucket
5 gallon plastic bucket – 2
black plastic trike
standing basketball hoop
pregnancy test – 2 (both negative)
4 Mardigras bead necklaces
Jose Cuervo Margarita mix bottles – 12(!)
full soda cans – 2
Margarita mix
full beer cans – 7
full Mike’s Hard Lemonade
soccer ball
glass bong with frog d├ęcor
baby elephant – plastic
metal welcome sign
long handled brush – all bristles intact
folding lawn chair
upholstered chair (back only)
camp chair
picture frame (needs work)
12’ electrical cable
cow feeder top
rusted metal
stainless steel square with bolts

The crew relaxes after an awesome cleanup.