Community can help out with Rifle River cleanup

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ARENAC COUNTY — A Rifle River cleanup day is being hosted by the Arenac County Conservation District June 14, and Huron Pines and several canoe liveries in Arenac and Ogemaw counties are lending a hand with the effort.

And area residents can chip in as well.

Dawn Hergott, director of the Arenac County Conservation District, said the event gets started at 10 a.m., and that volunteers can simply drop in at one of the five participating canoe liveries — Troll Landing Campground and Canoe Rental, White’s Canoe Livery in Alger, River View Campground and Canoe Livery, Rifle River Campground and Canoe Livery and Riverbend Campground and Canoe Livery — the day of the cleanup.

“They pick one to go to and tell them they’re here for the cleanup, and the liveries will transport them to the launches,” she said. “They canoe down to the campgrounds.”

“The canoe liveries are providing all of the canoes at no cost to the volunteers,” Hergott said.

On the river, canoers simply pick up cans, bottles and trash in the river and along the bank, according to Hergott.

“They’re just trying to go down the river and remove whatever they can,” she said. “There are already all sorts of cans and bottles and garbage left from when people tip over.”

This is the second year for the cleanup. Hergott said last year approximately 30 to 40 people participated in the event. She said fewer canoe liveries participated last year, so she hopes to remove more trash than last year, although there was a lot picked up in 2013.

“Last year I did it and our canoe had a pretty good amount of garbage in it,” she said. “We just threw all of the garbage in the canoe. If there are larger items, we won’t put them in the canoes. Sometimes you find tires and washing machines, unfortunately.”

Josh Leisen, a watershed project manager with Huron Pines, said one of the biggest benefits from the cleanup is the user experience.

“A lot of tourists come up from downstate to use the river, and people who live near the river in Arenac County, they want to have a clean river to recreate in,” he said.

Leisen added that some trash left in the river can harm wildlife.

“Certain pieces of trash like plastic and other items can harm waterfowl,” he said.

Huron Pines sent some AmeriCorps members to help with last year’s cleanup, and will likely have volunteers on hand again this year, Leisen said.

Although the weather has not been adequate for canoeing for a long period of time, Hergott said there is more than likely plenty of trash in the river.

“There is, because everything that’s traveled downstream throughout the winter,” she said. “You get all of that from the end of the year.”

The area canoe liveries typically do cleanups throughout the year, but not everybody who goes out on the Rifle River launches from a canoe livery launch, Hergott said.

For more information on the cleanup, visit face

book.com/RifleRiver

Cleanup, or contact one of the participating canoe liveries or the conservation district at 989-846-9662.

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