Paddle Pickup reduces trash found in our local waters

Posted by Spalding Hurst

May 14, 2012

By The Kentucky Standard Editorial Board

Bardstown and Nelson County are fortunate to have the Bardstown Boaters involved in working to keep the Beech Fork River cleaned up.

Rivers are good windows into the soul of a community. Left neglected, trash builds up on the bottoms and along the banks, contributing to pollution of the water and making an otherwise scenic vista ugly and unsightly. Saturday, the club will hit the water for its eighth annual “Paddle Pickup,” cleaning up another section of the river under the close scrutiny of the club working with other volunteers.

The entire section of river that passes through and by Nelson County cannot be combed of debris and junk every year but by biting off a section a year the Beech Fork can be kept in reasonable shape. Those who use the river as a landfill or trash heap seem to be declining in numbers. Getting county-wide mandatory trash pickup established here was a major step forward in eliminating all kinds of illegal dumping and the annual “bulky item pickup” has been another big factor in cutting back, but not eliminating, trash in the river.

Tires, even though they’re picked up as part of the annual county bulky item project, are still a plague on the river. Tires are also one of the harder items to deal with when canoes are being used to transport trash to a pickup point.

Something new has been added to the Paddle Pickup this year — a camp-out on the lawn at Spalding Hall Friday. It is a good way to build solidarity among participants and also a good way to make sure everyone is up and ready to go for the job at hand Saturday. The theme “Occupy the Beech Fork” is a clever way to play off a topical theme to promote change.

Bardstown Boaters has, as an organization, helped to raise the community’s level of concern about why it is important to take good care of our natural resources so future generations can enjoy them, too. The organization’s dream of a mini-whitewater park east of the U.S. 31E bridge remains alive but unfulfilled. However, keeping the river clean for the future development of such a park is important and with Bardstown’s need for future raw water still a priority, it is possible that an enhanced “rubble dam” could lead to something much bigger.

In the meantime, we owe a great deal of gratitude to the Bardstown Boaters for protecting a very important part of the Bardstown-Nelson County quality of life.

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