Trout Unlimited involved in annual cleanup
by BETH ALTENA
Add 60 volunteers to a day of cleanup on the Rogue River and you get a lot cleaned up. Annual event organizer Andrew Kirsting, who began the Rogue River Cleanup in 2005 when he was just 15 years old, was amazed at how fast and how well this year’s group picked up other people’ garbage. Kirsting’s regular volunteers were joined this year on April 23 by members of the local Schrem’s Trout Unlimited, or others affiliated with the Rogue River as a Trout Unlimited Home Rivers Initiative. About 60 people had signed up ahead of time with more expected to show the day of the event.
Despite high water due to recent storms, volunteers pulled a record amount of junk from the river, from whiskey barrels to vehicle tires.
In another example of multiple-organizational cooperation, a donation from a nonprofit organization called American Rivers made separating recyclable materials from plain trash easier. That group donated blue bags with which volunteers sorted the cans, bottles and other material suitable for recycling. “We tried to do that in the past, but with all the bags looking the same it was hard to do,” said Kirsting. Rockford D&W donates the black trash bags and water, B.C. Pizza and the Corner Bar supplied the after-cleanup feast, and Celebration Cinema and the Coopersville-Marne Railroad donated prizes.
Next year, Kirsting hopes to expand the cleanup from its usual expanse of three total miles of river to six. This year groups went both south from Richardson-Sowerby Park to Childsdale and also north to the Rockford dam. Instead of a half-day event, the entire cleanup took only two hours and was the most thorough cleanup so far, Kirsting reported. He is excited to perhaps double the group’s goal for next year and head twice as far down stream.