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My local paddling club, Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, has always kept the stewardship of the Nolichucky River near and dear to our hearts as one of our best natural resources in our area for whitewater paddling. Since the clubs formation in 1986 the group has organized annual river cleanup events to promote and sustain conservation efforts in our area waterways. The pandemic hampered these efforts the last few years, but thanks to our new conservation officers, James Burleson and Deana Gates, this annual flagship cleanup event was brought back to life this year bigger and better than ever on 6/10/2023!

We were happy to partner with Blue Ridge Paddling, the area’s newest outfitter and Jackson Kayak dealer, who hosted the event at their new store in Erwin, TN. This was APE’s and BRP first time working together and it was an instant success!

We ended up having 72 volunteers come together to help clean up the river we all love. Literally tons of trash was removed from the river by the volunteers and 68 tires were pulled out of the river bed for proper disposal.

We had many great sponsors donate prizes and some even show up for the after party raffle to help thank all the volunteers for their efforts. A kayak was even donated a given away as one of the grand prizes in the stash. Lots of tasty hamburgers and hot dogs were grilled for the volunteers to enjoy as part of the after party. Food, fun and fellowship abounded in a celebration for a job well done of our river family.

Thank you to all who joined to make this event a HUGE success this year. A special thank you goes out to James and Deana for their months of hard work to organize this great event.