Saturday, June 18th, marked the 15th Annual Nolichucky Cleanup.  The Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts have been hosting this event annually to help keep the Nolichucky River clean for paddlers, fishermen, and river-users alike!  The summer is a very popular time for people frequent the rivers recreationally and the APEs group is proud to help everyone see the beauty of the Nolichucky by keeping it clean the way nature presented it.

This year over 30 volunteers put blood, sweat, and tears into removing garbage along a 10+ mile section of the river below the gorge (USA Raft to Riverpark Campground). Paddlers loaded up their kayaks, rafts, or canoes with trash collected from the banks and maneuvered their loads to drop off points where the land crew picked up the garbage and transported it to the local dump station.

In total, 4 truckloads of trash and 28 tires were removed from the river! Pictured below Jeff Vannoy, a volunteer for Team River Runner and member of the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, picking up one of the many tires along the riverside.

After hours of hard work, volunteers enjoyed barbeque donated by Texas Roadhouse of Johnson City. A second part of the cleanup was a raffle for a Jackson FUN that was donated by Jackson Kayak. The proceeds of the raffle directly benefited Camp Bays Mountain as the group rebuilds its camp in a new location. Thanks to the generous donors and support of the paddling community, the APEs group was able to donate nearly $400 to Camp Bays Mountain!

Pictured below is Debbie Briscoe, the winner of the Jackson Kayak FUN and many-year coordinator of the cleanup, along with Wesley Bradley, the local Jackson Kayak Regional Team Member.

Overall the cleanup was a great success! USA Raft owner, Matt Moses, remarked, “You guys did awesome on the clean up! I paddled to Jackson Love yesterday and it looked so much better! We all love working with APEs and are proud to be your partner and home base on the Nolichucky!”

APE’s member, Jeff Baldwin, commented, “Great day on Saturday participating in the annual Nolichucky clean-up.  Awesome BBQ and good times hanging out with fellow paddlers. So enjoyed the day ………trying to remember if I gathered any trash… LOL!  Big thanks to Andrea Parra and Sara Reis as the event was a very nice start to their newly elected positions within the club!”

The APEs group is grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors who helped make the cleanup successful. A special thanks to USA Raft for providing the cleanup location and for all they do to help local paddlers get out on the river. What a great day!

Sponsors: Jackson Kayak, Mountain Sports Ltd., Chaco, Astral Buoyancy, NRS, US Forest Service, Kokatat, Landmark Learning, USA Raft, Uncle Johnny’s Hostel, Texas Roadhouse of Johnson City

-Report by: Andrea Gass-