Spring Creek-Chipola Magnolia Report
(Spring Creek, Chipola River)

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Report By:  tom    Date: 9/15/2012 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 3 photos     Map & Directions: View

A hard-working river trash cleanup. We came, we saw, we grabbed trash, and left the river much better.

My Report:

Tallahassee paddlers from the ACKC and FPCKC paddlers met up in Marianna for this river-cleaning expedition. Frances Stone suggested meeting at the Merritt's Millpond dam on US 90 at 9 a.m. Central, which gave Tallahassee folks a chance to make a leisurely trip to the put-in.

From the west came Frances, Linda Taylor of Navarre, Gary Lathem of Marianna, and Judy Russell of Freeport. Tallahassee paddlers included Gwen Beatty, Kathy Newman, John Lorenz, Charlotte Hand, Tom Butler and Christine Francescani. We brought bags, trash grabbers, spiked tools, a garden cultivator tool and other implements.

The first time I saw Spring Creek and the Chipola River was about 18 years ago, when Charlotte Hand led a cleanup trip on this same waterway. Saturday's cleanup trip was another strenuous battle against litter, but I realized that we had collected much less on Spring Creek this time than back in 1994. Part of that may be the slow battle to change people's attitudes, part of that may be the rules cracking down on containers on the creek. And part of it might even be the slow economy -- I notice lately there are fewer aluminum cans being tossed out by the roadside!

We put in and began looking for the first catch of trash -- Styrofoam, beer bottles, a couple of T-shirts draped over a cypress knee. Pretty soon we started encountering more of it, usually in clusters upstream of a fallen tree, or in a cove on the bank. The trash began accumulating in our boats, and kayakers would pass their bags to canoers for transport. I filled two huge garbage bags and a bucket (I found the bucket in a pile of trash on the bank). We brought in a total of about a dozen bags of liquor bottles, beer bottle, fishing bait containers, Styrofoam in various configurations, half a dozen flip-flops (but never a matching pair), and a pair of nasty befouled men's underwear that I deposited in a bag with a stick.

I felt wiped after I got back. Several of us remarked that a cleanup is much more strenuous than an ordinary paddle because there's a lot of back-and-forth paddling, struggling with stubborn objects and lifting heavy or waterlogged items. And then there are the landings -- stopping to clamber out of the boat to reach a pile of cans and bottles on the bank, or, standing in the water to grab cans off the bottom. And I think, too, because you're constantly on alert, looking for the unnatural color of a Mountain Dew bottle and the glint of an alumnum can. But we definitely did good.

We came away without injuries, but there are hazards to a cleanup. I was walking in shallow water on a limestone shelf when I stepped in one of the holes in the limestone. My left leg sank in several feet, crunching my right leg up to me, and leaving me glad nothing worse happened.

We heard afterward that the local outfitter had done a cleanup of this area earlier in the year. But our trip was the pros in action.

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 7.5
Fees/Costs $: n/a

Photos from Spring Creek, Chipola River:    (Click image to view full size)

Gwen goes ashore No Comm
Gwen goes ashore

Gwen makes one of many landings along the shore to grab bottles and cans left on the bank.

Linda at the take-ou No Comm
Linda at the take-ou

Linda arrives at the boat ramp displaying her haul of river trash.

Frances at work No Comm
Frances at work

Frances landed to retrieve a pile of litter and here she's pitching a steady stream of empty containers into her canoe.


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsWhen you tackle cleaning up trash, bring hand sanitizer, or disinfecting wipes, and a change of clothes, You won't just get wet, but grubby. Energy bars are good, you can snack on them by peeling the wrapper, so you won't touch them with dirty hands!

Post Date: 9/16/2012

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