Upper Ochlockonee River Report
(Iron Bridge Road to Tower Road)

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Report By:  tom    Date: 2/26/2011 
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We did a trash cleanup from Highway 157 (formerly Iron Bridge Road, from when there was an iron bridge there) down to the boat ramp at the west end of Tower Road

My Report:

We had a half-dozen paddlers for the Ochlockonee River Cleanup and we made an impressive haul for six miles of river. Our biggest haul of garbage came in the first mile after putting into the river, as we filled bag after bag with beer bottles, food wrappers, bait containers, used diapers, Styrofoam and aluminum cans.

Knox and Holly Parker joined us in a tandem canoe, and Red Cherry had his sturdy sit-on-top kayak. Joan Clark, Michelle Pigott and Kathy Newman showed up in kayaks, and I used my Mohawk solo.

About a mile south of the Highway 157 bridge we came up on a beached canoe, apparently washed down the river during a flood. It was stripped of any seats, fittings, thwarts or edging along the top of the fiberglass. But it made an excellent garbage scow, and we packed it as our own boats overflowed with garbage. Red Cherry volunteered to tow this ungainly vessel, which had the habit of breaking loose from his towing.

I was determined to make a good sweep of garbage, but there are some things at which you have to draw the line. We found a plastic bag floating near some downed trees, and started to pull it in. It smelled. I wondered what was in it, perhaps a load of oysters somebody had brought for a cookout and dropped in the river? Then as I pulled it halfway out of the water, I saw the severed head of a wild pig inside the bag. Sort of like a scene from The Godfather. I left it. Yes, I'd like to have down something about that, but I didn't think I could stand having that in the canoe with me for the next several hours. I had already seen enough disassembled animals at the boat ramp, dumped by deer hunters.

(Maybe it wasn't hunters. According to the online satirical newspaper The Onion, America's possums and raccoons are engaged in a fierce turf war, and, maybe the pig got caught in the crossfire.)

Another item we left behind was an overturned motorboat, upside down on a tangle of logs south of the Highway 157 bridge. It had Georgia registration numbers on it. Maybe it drifted away in a flood, maybe kids stole it for a joy ride, maybe the owner flipped it on to the logs and just left it. I noted the number, and I've since called the Georgia DNR to try to trace it. They said it had been registered to an Atlanta man until the year 2000. I wrote to him at their address of record, but the letter came back. So I can say I tried.

When we got to the Tower Road boat ramp, the garbage container was, alas, gone. We split up loads and disposed of them as best we could. I took home three bags I had filled at the boat ramp and put them in my own trash can. I would say we collected about 11 or 12 large garbage bags worth of stuff. Some items wouldn't fit, such as a huge hardened blob of expandable insulating foam, and the remains of a steel lid for a drum. We also passed around disinfecting wipes to clean our hands.

I'm glad we did it, but sometimes the sheer volume of trash that people dump in rivers or in the woods can be discouraging. But we gave it our best shot!

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 6
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Iron Bridge Road to Tower Road:    (Click image to view full size)

Scow No Comm

Red takes charge of the derelict canoe hull. We were able to bring plenty of garbage to the take-out on Tower Road.

Take-out No Comm

Joan and Holly unload their boats at the Tower Road boat ramp.

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsTrash cleanups give you the reward of feeling that you did something to help nature, but be careful. Bring disinfectant wipes or lotions, and gloves. You can't put a price on your health!

Post Date: 3/21/2011

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