The Beech Fork River is one of Nelson County’s precious natural resources. It contributed to Bardstown being named one of 50 “next great adventure towns in which to live and play” by National Geographic Adventure magazine last year, and talks have begun to build a whitewater park.
It’s a shame, therefore, that there is a need for Paddle Pickup, during which the Bardstown Boaters club and other volunteers pull trash and debris from the Beech Fork. Saturday was the fifth annual Paddle Pickup, and enough stuff was pulled from the river to fill an industrial-sized garbage dumpster. Old tires, a Big Wheel and the inside tub of a washing machine were among the “treasures” found.
Some of the trash has been there for decades. Other items are more recent additions. We’d like to think littering has decreased as awareness about the need to protect the environment has improved, but one look at that industrial-sized garbage dumpster makes us wonder.
The volunteers with the Paddle Pickup are to be thanked and commended for helping clean the Beech Fork, but they can’t do it alone. All of us are responsible for disposing of our trash responsibly. That means not only keeping it out of the river, but also off roadsides and out of illegal dumps. And we shouldn’t consider the impact of our negligence only when Paddle Pickup reminds us of what it can cause.