It was the perfect day for a paddle… The sun was shining, the sky was clear, and the weather was warm but not scorching. Today we were joining the Traverse Area Paddle Club to help clean up the Lower Platte River. Ben Kunz and I met the rest of the group: Jacalyn Anderson, Sarah Campbell, Steve Carey, Gracie and Matt Failor, Bill Gittlen, Lois Goldstein, John Heiam, George and Sharon Hermach, Tracie Lord, and Kristen Salathiel to unload our kayaks and canoes and begin our clean up.
I have helped with cleanup trips on the Lower Platte several times before, and sometimes there can be an exorbitant amount of trash. Today appeared to not be one of those days. There were still many cans to be stabbed with the spear, a jacket to be yanked out from the mud it had sunk into, and even the occasional miscellaneous piece of trash worth climbing out of the canoe and onto a slippery log for. But the river was in very good shape. Our stop at the Fisherman’s Weir for lunch and to unload the garbage we had found so far confirmed this. We had filled only two large garbage bags which has not always been the case in the past. My hope is that people have become conscientious of the saying “take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.”
A few of the highlights from the day included seeing a group of turtles sunbathing on a log, admiring the beautiful water lilies scattered here and there on the river, and enjoying such wonderful company of all the volunteers who helped make the Lower Platte a cleaner place for all. I know how much I look forward to joining my neighbors, Lois and John, on river clean-ups. I’ve been lucky enough to help them several times throughout the last few years, and I hope that next summer I will be able to come back from college and join them again. It is always lovely to see a group of people band together to give back to the community.
Trip report by Megan Puckett
Photos by John Heiam
Here is the cleanup crew -From left to right, back row:
George and Sharon Hermach, Bill Gittlen, Jackie Anderson, Sarah Campbell, Kristen Salathiel, Matt Failor, Tracie Lord, Steve Carey
front row: John Heiam, Lois Goldstein, Megan Puckett, Ben Kunz, Gracie Failor
Megan and Ben
Our haul of trash by lunchtime Gracie, Matt, Lois, Ben, and Megan
Lois pulls a cup from a tree
Tracie looks for trash on the bottom of the river so she can use her new spear
Lois pulls a bottle out of the grass - how did she ever spot it?
Trash collected after lunch