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On Saturday, April 17, 2021 the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts – partnered with Keep Carter County Beautiful – for an Earth Day service project to cleanup a local trail system and adjacent quarry pond. The two groups combined resources for a greater effort in leaving the places better than we found it.

It had been a few years since the APEs had undertook the first quarry pond cleanup:

Recent outings on the trail made it apparent that the quarry was in need of some additional “beautification.” Unsightly floating trash and litter on the banks had accumulated from 3 years of trail users. My wife, Jenifer Bradley, was quick to seize the opportunity to go into action for this quarry cleanup again with Ed Jordan, KCCB Chairman, when she heard about the upcoming Tweetsie Trail Trashercise event.

There was a great turn out from the local community for the combined event! Spirits were warm, despite the cool weather, as we all gathered in the morning at the Lions Field Tweetsie Trail Parking/Access to prepare for the cleanup gathering supplies and coordinating efforts.

We had a total of 11 hardy volunteers come help with this second quarry cleanup effort. The landscape around the quarry pit is steep (vertical wall cliffs in many spots) and overgrown with brush, so it is not an easy site to access with paddle crafts. Some of our volunteers worked on cleaning up the banks around the pond and helped the paddlers haul out trash that they collected floating in the pond.

We hauled out over half a pickup truck load of trash from in and around the pond to the dumpster that KCCB provided us at Happy Valley Elementary. We even found a couple of trail traffic signs that will hopefully go back into reuse with their return to the JC Parks & Rec Department.

The combined cleanup event received some nice local media attention:

Anti-litter crusader wins prestigious statewide award

Thank you to the APE’s and friends who joined us for this 2nd APE Tweetsie Trail Quarry Cleanup. It was a success because of their willingness to help with the team effort and the good partnership with KCCB!

Photos by Melissa Fiero & Jerry Griffin