Mike, Tim, Jim, Chuck, Stu and Scott got out this past Saturday (May 14) for a litte Sangamon River Stewardship. We cleaned up a four or five mile stretch of the river upstream from Lake of the Woods to County Road 2500N. We came by foot, by paddle, and by convertible. Jim paddled upstream from Riverbend, Tim paddled downstream from the Hazen Bridge, Mike jogged up from the Lake of the Woods parking lot (our end point), and Stu and Scott drove up from LOTW in Stu's convertible after dropping off the USRC trailer.
After that well-coordinated start-up, our crew left from Mike's Landing a little after 9am with a weather forecast of 50% rain and 50-ish degrees.
Chuck and Scott paddled our newly-donated USRC plastic canoe, and are glad to report that our new donation paddles and handles great on the river. It's also excellent for river clean-ups! The others were in kayaks. Just after setting out, we noticed our first big haul, a tire and rim, trapped behind a downed tree on the right bank. We moved on after also grabbing a cracked grren sled out of the jam and luggin the tire out of the water and up and into the canoe. For the most part, the river was in pretty good shape, but there's plenty of trash out there for the taking. We grabbed a table, a garbage can, fertilzer bags, a bicycle helmet (girl's small), a knapsack, a high school kid's backpack (we identified it to be from Devon Todd – where are you?), some unidentifiable dead critter in a plastic bag, numerous plastic bottles, beer cans, soda cans, styrofoam packing in various sizes, a bucket of mud and a large pickle jar that my wife Carol will turn into a terrarium!
We filled the canoe and Stu's kayak by the time we arrived at Scott's landing just before 11. We unloaded garbage there and moved on. By that time, Tim had to head back upstream, and Mike and Jim went on downstream. Chuck, Stu and I continued the cleanup. By the time we arrived at LOTW, we had nearly filled the canoe and Stu's kayak yet again.
The river was in excellent shape for a paddle, the weather was cool, but comfortable with very little rain, and there were no impassable log jams for the entire trip. We made it off the river a little after 1:00 for a four hour trip. This is a trip that on a good day and a straight paddle, takes less than 2. That should tell you how much we stopped and started picking up trash. We filled two trash cans at my house and still need a third!
So the lesson here is take care of your river, so we don't have to. …but if we have to, then the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy is always there for our Sangamon River!
See you on the River!