When we began the clean up on this segment of river, we knew that the river was low. We had 22.5 miles of river we hoped to clean. We had planned to work this section of river simply to provide greater exposure of our volunteers to different sections of the river. That has been a primary goal of mine in working with TSRA.
I hope to expand the understanding of the average outdoor enthusiast to include the concept of the entire river being a unique ecosystem. This system is much larger than just the section of river we are used to experiencing.
Our group of seven boats and fourteen volunteers put in at the TWRA boat ramp at Highway 70 in Haywood County about 7:00 am on Saturday September 18. Did I mention that the river was low? It was 3.2 feet on the Rialto gage (see river stages link on the right).
Launching our boats was eventful and resulted in one volunteer’s boat trailer having a tire and wheel ruined. It turns out that he had to winch the truck and trailer back up the ramp.
The next thing that happened was a snake falling into the boat of another volunteer. The snake hid under the floor decking and could not be removed. No problem…the collective solution was to flood the back of the boat with several inches of water. This would force the snake up to the dry front of the boat. Our volunteer planned to continue the journey and continue cleaning up.
The next thing that happened was another volunteer lost his propeller, stainless steel propeller, for a 40 horse power Yamaha. This is a very expensive item: they NEVER just fall off like this.
Well, then the guy with the snake and the water in his boat ran up on a log…raising the bow…lowering the transom…and flooding the boat…all the way…to the bottom…while the motor was running. All that was above the water was the very end of the bow, the owner…and the snake. They soon parted ways. The boat was salvaged, the motor dried out and the boat returned to the landing under its own power. The volunteer did loose his shoes, an expensive fish finder and his GPS unit.
You keeping track? Trailer tire… $60
Trailer wheel…. $70
GPS unit……… $200
Hummingbird fish finder $300
Stainless steel prop……. $400
A great day on the Hatchie with friends……PRICELESS
Due to the cleanup operation becoming a survival Man vs. Wild reality episode, our heroic volunteer’s still managed to collect 1,200 pounds of garbage and car tires.
All of this material was recycled by Haywood County. Special thanks are due to Hon. Franklin Smith, Haywood County Mayor and Mr. Clinton Neal, Public works director of Haywood County for all their help. Thanks Mayor! Thanks Clinton! I also want to thank Mrs. Ruth Wallace and the Keep Tipton County Beatiful Commission for working and donating supplies! Thanks Ms. Ruth!
Another thank you goes to Crop Production Services and Mr. Bo Cranford for serving a great BBQ lunch with all the trimmings. Thanks Bo!
Thank you to my friends who let me sucker them into such an adventure. No one was upset with any property damage and all wanted to know when we could do it again. These are truly remarkable people and I am blessed to count them among my friends.
Lastly, I owe a huge thanks to the folks at TSRA, specifically Ms. Lucy Garabrant for making these events possible.
Funding has been made possible through a grant from TWRA and TSRA has helped administer the funds. Thank you TWRA, Thanks TSRA and Lucy!