Eastern Kentucky University students and the Kentucky Riverkeeper, Pat Banks visited Heidelberg, KY on Friday September 19th for a river cleanup of pool 13. The weather was perfect as a trailer of 10 canoes from EKU Student Services backed down the Sturgeon/Heidelberg Ramp. Each student received River Sweep T-shirts and trash bags as they were instructed by the Lee County Rescue Squad to use the “buddy system” when canoeing in the river.
“It is dangerous boating too close to the overspill of the dam because of a fierce undertow,” said Greg Angel from the Lee County Rescue Squad as he gave the students a few tips on boating safety.
The groups of canoes were split into three teams and were sent in different directions. Some traveled up river and picked up trash from under the blue bridge and along the banks toward Lock 14, while another group traveled down river. A third group paddled up the historic Sturgeon Creek. For many students it was the first time in a canoe.
“We would like to do more community service like this,” said William Keaton, Assistant Director of Student Life at EKU, “the students get to see many Eastern Kentucky communities and are able to help.”
Lee County Solid Waist was also present at the ramp to help with disposal. Throughout the day, there were over 100 bags of trash picked up along the river. For lunch, the students had pizza and Ale-8 from the Lee County Recreational Center.
While the cleanup was in full swing, Don Cash and Tony Day launched the Rescue Squad boat to take KY Riverkeeper Pat Banks, and Lee County Tourism Director Dedra Brandenburg for a trip down river so they could compete their assessment of pool 13. The assessment consisted of a survey of the river and plotting of any natural formations, shoals, power lines that cross, and streams names that empty into the river. This information is apart of the state wide assessment of the Kentucky River for the National Park Service and the Kentucky River Authority.
Lee County is also a member of the Kentucky River Water Trail Alliance which is a grassroots project under the Kentucky Riverkeeper who’s purpose is to network and advocate for recreation on the Kentucky River. The fall conference of the Alliance will be held in Beattyville this November 2014. More details to follow.
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