I recently had the opportunity to participate in a worthy cause to support one of our club’s missions of conservation. On Saturday August 7th the Three Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited, along with several other supporters who want to keep this river in pristine condition, sponsored 2021’s annual cleanup of the Cedar River.
Approximately seventy volunteers, representing various fishing clubs and conservation groups, met at the Ron Regis Park, signed the necessary waivers and then split into seven groups, each led by a King County Department of Parks and Recreation employee. The Parks Department supplied protective gloves, five-gallon buckets, trash pick-up tools and large trash bags. Each of the seven groups was assigned a different park along the river. My group drove up the highway, almost to Maple Valley, to the Fred V. Habenicht Rotary Park. When we first arrived, we went down to the river bank and picked up all the easily visible trash. Once the area appeared to be cleaned up, we started scouring the underbrush next to the river bank. Oh boy, we sure hit the jackpot in the bushes! Apparently, some think that while you’re having a good time on the river, the bushes are a good place to get rid of trash. Yuck! Over the period of an hour and a half, we filled 10 to 12 large garbage bags just in that one small park. It was disgusting to see how some people treat our rivers and parks with so much disrespect! If each of the seven groups working that day picked up 10 to 12 garbage bags, that’s 70 to over 80 bags! And funny thing, the Parks Department provides garbage cans at all of these parks! Hmmm.
The good news is that we left the river and parks in much better shape than they were in when we started. Following cleanup, we all headed back to our original meeting place, next to the Maplewood Golf Course and had sandwiches, chips and beverages. They held a raffle for some donated items and I walked away with an out-of-production Trout Unlimited hat; like I need another hat! Oh well.
I had a good time doing some much needed and much appreciated work, and I met some really great conservationists.