The weather was cold, but it didn’t rain. The wind was blowing, but down in the Bear River Valley Recreation Area it couldn’t be felt. Organizers of the clean-up on Sunday, April 25, had hoped for a warmer, sunnier day. But, it was not to be.
In spite of the chilly conditions, over 50 volunteers showed up to help remove trash from the recreation area, one of Petoskey’s most beautiful and popular attractions – a gorgeous, natural centerpiece.
The great turnout buoyed organizers’ spirits and helped make shorter work of the clean-up.
Special thanks goes out to the several Petoskey High School National Honor Society members who collected community service points while assisting They jumped right, bringing back bag after bag of trash.
Another word of gratitude goes to Emmet County Recycling, which loaned us recycling bins for cans and bottles, as well as provided extra trash bags – all which came in really handy.
Another big shout-out goes to Beards Brewery, not only for their physical assistance at the event, but also the delicious Michigan Hop Water, a no-alcohol flavored seltzer that really hits the spot. Every volunteer got a can of their own.
Likewise, thanks goes to Bearcub Outfitters. Like Beards, Bearcub threw in some great gift bags as giveaways, and a significant number of staff members aided in the clean-up.
What resulted from this five-hour effort was a mound of garbage weighing an estimated 300 pounds. Among the flotsam and jetsam washed down the critical Bear River watershed were a bizarre collection of refuse no doubt washed down from areas near and far. There were the usual items: surgical masks, plastic water bottles, flip-flop sandles, beer cans, cigarette butts, and eight kinds of whatnot. There were also lengths of steel pipe, a holiday wreath, part of a wooden wagon wheel, various pieces of lumber, a scummy old crockpot, “some rubbery thing”, and what was reported to be the base of an umbrella stand. (Please, call if you’re missing that! Just kidding! We tossed it!)
The incredible irony of that relatively large haul is that several people apparently pulled about nine bags out of trash out of the recreation area only about 10 days prior to our event. In fact, organizers did a walk-through of the area on Friday, April 23, and determined that there “might not be much trash to collect” during our event.
The fact that we did collect a lot of trash clearly illustrates that regular cleaning of our vital watershed areas is absolutely vital. And that is why our final – and most hearty – thanks goes to the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, which for 15 years has conducted an annual volunteer clean-up of the recreation area and beyond! This is critical work in which all of us, who value our environment and clean water, should regularly participate.
While we are proud of our event and all the volunteer effort that went into it, we would be utterly remiss if we failed to acknowledge the Watershed Council’s past and future work to preserve and protect these critical resources. THANK YOU!
And thank you to all who assisted us! We have your contact information and will be communicating with you about other upcoming events which will entail both work and fun. Stay tuned!