JULIAN, W.Va. — Saturday, September 17 saw the Trash Your Kayak event held at Julian to help rid the Little Coal River of trash and tires. Volunteers in kayaks and canoes took to the river from the Donald Kuhn Juvenile Center. There were designated drop off areas for trash and tires collected along the river route.
Michelle Martin and her sister Melissa Mansour are co-founders of Trash Your Kayak Coal River Clean Up Crew. The group was founded this past March.
Martin said, “We started picking up trash as we kayaked, then we started talking about what we could do and thought, hey if we are willing to do this, maybe others will too. Then the name of our group came one day as we were kayaking.”
According to Martin her sister Melissa had two inner tubes, a caution cone, an outdoor light and a tire on her kayak. Martin said, “Your kayak is trashed!” And the name of the group was born.
Martin and her sister grew up in Weston on the West Fork River.
Martin said, “We are Coal River enthusiasts! We have kayaked other rivers but the Coal Rivers are the most beautiful ones we have kayaked on.”
Martin organized the event on Saturday.
Martin said, “Over 650 tires were pulled out of the Little Coal River with the help of REAP and 32 volunteers.”
REAP is Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan and is part of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. They focus on cleaning illegal dumping and littering throughout the state with members of their group as well as volunteers.
According to Martin, REAP will be hauling off the tires and paying the fee to have the tires taken to the landfill.
“One group worked ¾ mile section while the Trash Your Kayak group came down stream pulling up tires,” said Martin.
The event was sponsored by the Coal River Group and Authentic Watercraft Rentals.
For more information on Trash Your Kayak Coal River Clean Up Crew you may email [email protected]
Heather Kinder is a reporter for the Coal Valley News. She can be contacted at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or [email protected]