Saturday, April 26, 2008
Hartsburg Public Access
Morels, music and mud! What a perfect combination down on the river.
On April 26, 161 volunteers shrugged off the high water and hit the Big Muddy for our second ever Hartsburg clean-up. With the river cresting on Saturday just below flood stage, the clean-up was mainly focused on areas above the banks, in the forest and drift piles flanking the river.
Most of the trash was probably washed in during 2007’s spring flood event, but folks found deposits from earlier floods as well. And, interspersed with all the tires and plastic bottles were morels. Bunches of them! Many volunteers found their first ever, and left behind a good sized bag for the River Relief crew to fry up that night.
Individuals from as far away as St. Louis, Joplin, Kansas City and even Reno, Nevada, came out to help. Girl Scouts and 4-H from Ashland, Wal-Mart employees from Columbia and several large families joined the fun. A group of University of Missouri students who had been studying nearby Hart Creek Conservation Area came to clean up along the bottoms they’d been studying.
Because of a special relationship we have with Civic Recycling, this was one of the events where we were able to sort trash to recycle plastic and aluminum in addition to scrap metal and tires.
The trash sorting scene is a wild one, with volunteers dumping bags of trash, going through each item one by one and recycling what we can. One volunteer grabs pen and paper. As sorting continues, folks shout out interesting items they find and it gets tallied up. “Another camping propane tank! A purple giraffe head! Does anybody know what the heck this is?” This time, local musician “Naked Dave” Bandy and friends serenaded the trash sorters, keeping things lively and fun. (Check out the trash tally on the other side!)
With the high water, there was some drift in the river, but our fleet of professional MDC and USFWS captains and volunteer Missouri River Relief pilots kept volunteers on the river and safe. MDC skid-steer driver Charlie Nelson kept trash flowing up the ramp with ease and even hopped on a borrowed six-string to jam along with the other musicians.
While most folks cleaned up out on the river, several groups and families cleaned up by land, scouring the area surrounding the public boat ramp, and cleaning up 2 miles of the river road.
As the day wound down, the remaining crew retired to the Katy Trailside park managed by Robert and Maggie Riesenmey of RiverView Traders in Wilton. Music, morels, fried spoonbill and a toasty campfire kept the good feelings alive after a hard day of work on the river.
Note – because each bag of trash was sorted for recyclables at this clean-up, the list is much more detailed and interesting than many others!
News coverage of the event: Four newspapers, six community calendars, 1 TV, 2 radio
Total Volunteers: 161
Total Trash Tonnage: 5.1 tons!
River Teams: “The Mudpuppies, Hang Tite, FFF, Eagles, Mutts, the Sturgeons, Oh Shoot!, Wal-Mart River Rats, Redbudders, the Copperheads, the Nameless, the Morels, The Last One”