Paddle Pickup scheduled for May 9

Posted by Spalding Hurst

May 6, 2015

On May 9, the community will gather for the 10th time to clean up the Beech Fork River through the annual Paddle Pickup.

The Bardstown Boaters have organized the event since 2004 in order to promote community involvement in keeping the river clean.

“This is the 10th event we’ve held,” said Jay Thomas with the Bardstown Boaters. Last year’s event was rained out.

Thomas said Paddle Pickup was organized after the need of cleaning the river became clear.

“I remember several of us floating down the river and seeing a lot of trash. Mainly tires,” he said. “And I remember somebody commenting ‘Somebody should do something about this.’ Next thing we know, we’re gathering people to host this river clean-up.”

Over the years, the event has gained popularity among the community, with Boy Scout and 4-H groups, families and others volunteering their time.

“We have anywhere between 30 and 50 volunteers and close to 30 boats on the river packing them full of tires and garbage they see,” Thomas said. “(Nelson County Judge-Executive) Dean Watts and the county help out with providing a dumpster.”

Thomas said the clean-up usually lasts around three hours and covers a section of river for five to seven miles. At the end, the trash is hauled to the dumpster.

Those interested in participating this year should meet in Bethlehem High School’s parking lot at 9 a.m. There will be a short orientation before moving to the river. The event is open to the public and those who have boats are invited to bring them and help clean up. More information on the Paddle Pickup can be found at


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