Summer Mission Groups Go Looking for Trash
Picking up litter along the walking path that circles Lake Junaluska has kept many a youth group busy in the hot summer sun. With thousands of visitors every year, litter on the grounds and in the lake is an ongoing problem. The heavy rains in the past few weeks haven’t helped, bringing lots of trash into the lake with the runoff from stormwater throughout Haywood County. In spite of countless pickups, litter moves from roadways and parking lots down into Lake Junaluska just like it does into other waterways in Haywood County.
Haywood Waterways Association has led service projects for Youth and Young People in Missions groups at Lake Junaluska for quite a few years. This year, on July 17th, the litter around the walking path that circles the lake was all but gone due to the diligence of Lake Junaluska staff and recent cleanups by volunteer groups like the Haywood County Board of Realtors. Unfortunately, other areas in Waynesville and around Haywood County are not so lucky, and Haywood Waterways knows just where they are.
It was easy to backtrack up Richland Creek to the walking path at the Waynesville Recreation Center. Starting at the Vance Street covered shelter, over 30 volunteers from Whitehouse First United Methodist Church in Whitehouse, TN, focused their efforts on the Richland Creek greenway and Bi-Lo Plaza on Russ Avenue, led by Haywood Waterways staff and Tiffany Nygard, the coordinator for the Whitehouse FUMC youth service group. “This group just loves to serve,” said Nygard. “They’ve done it all: helped to build homes, worked in soup kitchens, and cleaned up all kinds of messes. The harder the job, the better they like it.”
So, the trash haul from this youth service project was déjà vu all over again, which is how it goes with watersheds and runoff. While some parts of Haywood County remain dry, many pockets within the Pigeon River watershed and the tributaries that supply it have been overflowing their banks lately. The trash coming into lakes and rivers is obvious but the sediment clouding the water is harder to pinpoint. Since sediment is the #1 pollutant of Haywood County waters, it adds to the pollution load waterways carry down the mountainsides. And, as anyone who lives here knows, it’s hard to find flat land in Haywood County.
Haywood Waterways would like to thank Tiffany Nygard and her group from Tennessee and Jack Moseley of the First United Methodist Church in Alabaster, AL, for doing their part to keep Haywood County waters clean and clear. For more information on how you or your group can do a stream cleanup, you can go to www.haywoodwaterways.org or contact Christine O’Brien, Adopt-a-Stream coordinator, at Christine.email@example.com.