Evart, Ice Mountain and J&J's River Run looking for river cleanup volunteers
EVART — Over time, trash and other forms of rubbish can be found floating along the Muskegon River, but three local entities are coming together and teaming up with local volunteers to put an end to the blight.
"Typically at the end of the season you have a lot of beer bottles, pop cans, things like that," said Evart Department of Public Works Supervisor Mark Wilson. "At this time, the river is low and it's easy to see the trash."
A cleanup event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 12. Volunteers will meet at Riverside Park, then disperse into two groups — one of which will head upriver toward 50th Avenue, while the other will head downstream toward J&J's River Run. Lunch will be provided by Ice Mountain following the activity.
J&J's River Run will provide canoes and kayaks to volunteers as part of the cleanup effort, while volunteers and employees from the city and Ice Mountain will walk along the riverbank, collecting trash and other pollutants.
"I want to feel part of the community and I want to help because it's important to keep the river clean," said John Wynia, owner of J&J's River Run. "It's good for my business and it's good for the community."
Throughout the summer, Wynia's business provides thousands of residents and visitors with canoes, rafts, kayaks and canoes for river recreation. He said he understands items can get lost while individuals travel down the waterway using his equipment, so he wants to take responsibility for his customers.
Wynia feels positively about the three entities working as a team to improve the river.
"It's nice we can work together and get something accomplished," he added.
This is the second year of the cleanup effort. In 2013, more than 30 volunteers cleaned nearly 10 miles of riverbank. In the past, the groups have collected bottles, cans, tires, plastic pieces and items from people's yards such as lawn chairs, which are washed away when the river is high during the spring season.
"Ice Mountain believes in protecting and maintaining a clean and healthy Muskegon River Watershed,” said Arlene Anderson-Vincent, natural resource manager at Ice Mountain. “Participating in the river cleanup is one way anyone can play a part in preserving a clean and healthy river for everyone to enjoy."
Wilson hopes more people set aside time to take care of and protect one of Evart's natural resources, which benefits everyone.
"We're set up for about 50 people that day," he added. "There's an environmental and aesthetic aspect to the cleanup and it's a place that typically doesn't get cleaned because it's fairly difficult to do."
To register to participate or for more information about the Muskegon River cleanup, contact the City of Evart at (231) 734-2181.