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Submitted by Adam Pross

I walk the shores of a local river in my area. What once was so beautiful and majestic is now slowly disappearing. I was blown away by the amount of trash that we, as recreational river users, leave behind, which may not all be intentional. It’s heart-wrenching that the river that brings communities together and a place to show our children the great outdoors is going to vanish.

There has to be something we can do because our time is fragile. If we don’t act now, what will this look like in 5,10, 20 years? So I decided to act now by grabbing this 5-gallon plastic pail I found on the shore. Within 10 minutes, I had already emptied that pail several times. I stopped and looked around as others walked by me. I noticed four garbage cans, each a few yards from the other.

I’m an avid kayak angler who uses the river frequently, and I will always carry plastic bags, things to go through with my kayak and if I notice any trash along my paddles I’ll grab it with my net. It’s important that as anglers we take care of the rivers and lakes we enjoy fishing. We spend so much time preparing for our trips with our kayaks and gear that maybe we could take that extra step and give back by helping our water out. A simple trick of bringing a garbage bag and picking up the litter at our local boat launch and encouraging others to do the same. When we are out on the water, it takes a few seconds to grab your net and get that floating bottle or can.

There are many trails and clubs for organizing a “river clean up” at your local river or lake. I enjoy paddling out and casting my lure waiting for that tug. The adrenaline rush that comes from setting the hook, the moment you get your hands on that bass. The stories we share with our fellow anglers, friends and the ones at home can’t wait to hear your fishing story.

If we don’t clean up our waters, these things will not exist anymore. What’s the point in having fishing rods and reels if there are no fish to catch, because we as humans decide to exploit nature? I encourage you to lead by example and help keep the river clean up and going. We owe it to our waterways to take action and help keep the majestic rivers and lakes for the next generation. Our rivers and lakes are what hold our communities together. It gives us a place to escape the concrete jungle, the stresses of everyday life and a place to make memories. We are only able to enjoy kayak fishing because of these waterways and without them the sport wouldn’t be able to exist. These consequences could be felt through the industry in the demand for manufacturing kayaks and the following help in our local paddle shops helps supply our passion.

Conservation and awareness is the strongest tool we have and, to be honest, why don’t we come together and help keep our waterways clean?