Litter sweep, river cleanup happening this fall

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Before you get busy raking leaves this fall, join groups of volunteers from across North Carolina in keeping the state beautiful. The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program kicks off its Fall Litter Sweep Sept. 15 through Sept. 29. Volunteers are provided cleanup supplies such as orange trash bags (reversible to blue for recyclables), gloves and orange safety vests from local NCDOT county maintenance offices. Last year’s fall litter sweep removed 76,995 pounds of litter from roads and highways. Adopt-A-Highway groups are encouraged to participate in the biannual litter sweeps in the spring and fall, helping to increase cleanup and encourage the community to be good stewards of the environment. Started in 1988, the Adopt-A-Highway Program helps decrease the amount of litter on the state’s roadsides and improves environmental beauty, quality and safety while saving taxpayer money. Roadsides can be adopted in all 100 North Carolina counties. Similarly to the annual litter sweep, groups commit to cleaning their designated roadways at least four times a year and are provided supplies by NCDOT. In 2017, more than 50,000 Adopt-A-Highway volunteers removed more than 1 million pounds of litter from more than 10,000 miles of state roadways. Visit the Adopt-A-Highway or Sponsor-A-Highway websites for more information or to apply. Questions regarding the programs or applications can be directed to Kim Wheeless at 919-707-2974. Volunteers needed for river cleanup Mainspring Conservation Trust is hosting its annual Little Tennessee River BigSweep on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are asked to meet in the lower parking area at Big Bear Park in Franklin, wearing clothes and shoes suitable for picking up trash in the river. Helpers can choose to pick up in floodplain land, along the riverbanks, or in the water itself. Canoes, boats and paddleboats are needed for trash removal in the water. Gloves, bags, and a pizza lunch will be provided. Guy Gooder has been organizing these cleanups for 13 years and scouts the locations most needed for trash removal along the Little Tennessee its tributaries.  Gooder assigns locations to volunteers based on their ages and comfort levels. More than 50 volunteers helped last year and Gooder says he hopes to have even more this year. “When you contribute to the care of the place where we all live, you get a lot of fulfillment. This river is a wonderful attraction for people and we should all be good stewards of our environment.”

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