Volunteer Chattahoochee WMA Cleanup

Thread starter #41
It is late, so this will not be a review of the full day. I will post all that tomorrow. Today, to my knowledge, was the first organized (somewhat organized) workday on Chattahoochee WMA in at least a couple decades. TallChris, LongTom, JBoggs, and northeastgasportsman along with my father, personal friends, and NGTO forum members showed up to work. The volunteers today worked like dogs, and produced a major haul to be dumped by DNR. The forum members that participated today need to chime in, but I think we probably gathered around 600 lbs +- of trash.
Today was an extraordinary success, and I cannot thank all volunteers enough. We were short-handed, so not all of the places I had designated got cleaned, but what areas did get cleaned underwent a significant, marked improvement in aesthetic value. A full report will be produced tomorrow afternoon. Thank you a million times to the folks that came out to roll up the sleeves, and who got wet, dirty, and sweat and who not only impacted the land, but who impacted me as a person. Much good was achieved today thanks to willing hands and willing hearts. God bless you all!!!
 
Thread starter #42
Alright folks. Well, our volunteer workday is in the books! I consider our day a wonderful success. Volunteers showed up and worked hard, and we got an impressive loot. Thank you so much to all who turned out to help. I cannot say thank you enough!
My intent was to post a full report today. I downsized my photos, but had difficulty converting them to HTML code (old computer, slow connection) is what I consider to be the culprit. I will be on a different computer tomorrow, and will get the full review with pics done after lunch! Thank you folks so much for the support, and for making this thing happen!
 

jbogg

Senior Member
#43
Way to put the cleanup together Kyle! It was good meeting your pops as well as some of the other members on the forum. I wish I could have helped a little longer. You guys put in a long day and it showed. I admired the river bank on my way out. What a difference! I will be up that way a lot during turkey season still trying to get my first Hog, so if anyone sees my old dark green Honda Pilot stop and say hello.
 
Thread starter #44
Update!!!

For any of you who are interested, here is a quick recap of the Chattahoochee WMA volunteer cleanup day we held on 3-11-17! Our day began a little chilly, but I'd say the temps were just about right for outside working conditions. Volunteers met in the parking lot at Ravens Cliffs with the exception of two who had to make late arrivals (TallChris and JBogg from the GON forum). We had a great group show up which was comprised of members from the NGTO forum (The Crow and Trout "R"), as well as Woody's members JBogg, TallChris, LongTom (the jokester), Futbolwest, and northgasportsman. After finally meeting northgeorgiasportsman, I finally realized how he kills all those big bears. They walk up to him, and when they see those big biceps, they just fall over dead. haha! ::ke: My father as well as friends Tracy W. and Jeremy B. were in the mix as well. We didn't have quite enough folks to spread out across the WMA, so we concentrated our efforts on Poplar Stump Road from the check station and south. We had one runner (LongTom) who headed north to cruise the road around the Upper Campground area. I sent The Crow, Trout "R", and northgasportsman to the place I had dubbed the "disaster area", and they absolutely smashed some trash. Those boys cleaned that place slick as a whistle. In all my years up on the hooch, I had never seen the place so polished before. It truly was a sight to behold.

My friends Tracy and Jeremy took a physical job and worked sweeping the road and the river from the check station south. They climbed up and down the river bank all morning and got a serious workout while putting a major dent in the junk littering the road and river! Major thanks to you both!!

Futbolwest and I dropped off down behind the ranger station to clean the camp spot down there first thing, and we ended up pulling out a small mattress, blankets, untold amounts of cans and food trash, and no kidding, probably 35 lbs of soaked diapers. We were totally smoked after hitting just that one spot. We drove down to Martin Branch, and I went up the creek bottom to secure a trash bag and lots of beer cans I had located along the creek while futbolwest covered the road and river section north and south of the bridge climbing up and down the river bank. He looked like a rock climber at some points! My dad joined us there at the bridge, and worked the entire area there while I was up the creek and futbolwest was working that road section. My dad found a real...."gem" while cleaning there near the bridge...(pic below). After a little mid day rest at the check station and a couple photos, jBogg arrived, and I sent him and futbolwest up to Low Gap Campground. TallChris joined us at the check station after making the long drive from Dawson County when he got off work (that is some real dedication!). We headed up to Low Gap with The Crow, Chris, me, dad, jBogg, LongTom, and futbolwest, and swept that area clean. For the final stretch of the day, Chris, dad, futbolwest, and myself swept the road from about 1/2 mile north of the check station down to where we had parked at the station. On his way home, jBogg made the time to stop by Bear Den Creek, and was able to collect another trash bag full from that location as well!!!

Our intent was to utilize the dumpster at Ravens Cliffs for the disposal of the collected trash. We realized upon arrival, however, that the dumpster was not there (first time I have not seen the dumpster there), so we loaded up the loot at the check station so it could be easily accessed and loaded by the USFS.

I'd say that for eleven volunteers, we scored an impressive haul.
In my book, this workday was an extraordinary success. It improved the aesthetic and natural value of the area, and reduced the amount of trash along the headwaters that are home to wild trout along with all other valuable aquatic organisms that dwell within and make up the aquatic environment of the watershed. It reduced the amount of trash that might otherwise end up downstream on others private property, in Lake Lanier, and further polluting our water. It showed our local NF that we love her, and it united people and friends who share a heart of one accord. I got to shake new hands, see new faces, and sweat alongside new friends, and this event meant the world to me.

A secondary benefit of the workday is that we were able to score some cans to donate for the City of Cornelia Fire Department's aluminum can recycling point, and give back to those that serve and protect us, our homes, and our communities.

One of my primary objectives through this is one that I have not yet mentioned. Above all else, I hope to prompt others to action. I hope you guys and girls out there can see the good work done by these good folks, and be inspired to take action and conduct work in and around your National Forest or state lands in your neck of the woods. We conducted this thing without real affiliation with any conservation or working group. Through a few people getting together, I think we got a LOT done in just a matter of a few short hours. I hope others out there can see this and use it as inspiration, motivation, and a model for reference. Our National Forest and state lands give so much to us all, they deserve for us to give back to them from time to time.

Lastly, I cannot effectively articulate my gratitude to those volunteers that came out, and especially to the ones that made the long drives. I know it's hard to get excited about spending your free time picking up garbage, and there's nothing sexy about trash, but you guys showed up and showed out regardless, and I believe affected a major improvement in the area! Thank you, thank you, and THANK YOU!!!!

Enjoy the pics!

Examples of what we were up against:



We weren't certain about whether USFS/DNR was going to be happy about the place I had chosen to leave the trash, so as per your request, northgeorgiasportsman haha!:



jBogg and futbolwest at the check station



the first load:



TallChris sweeping the road above the check station



The crew excluding jBogg, Futbolwest, Tall Chris, and my dad



Taking a break at Martin Branch



Cleaning along the river bank


Dad working along a former campsite



Dad's..."interesting" find at Martin Branch. I saw him using his trash poker to dig at a white lid at the bottom of a rotten log, but paid it no mind. A moment later, I heard him say "uh oohh", and I turned around. He was holding a pill bottle stuffed with white paper. I said "dad, its stuffed with paper, there's probably something in it. Open it and lets see what it is. He opened it, and pulled out the paper and unwrapped this makeshift meth pipe made from a light bulb from the tail light of a car, and a straw. I said alright, let me get a picture of it, and took one. Then I said "alright, now the next thing we need to do is throw it away...immediately!!!" haha!



The haul



Another view



The cans we were able to donate at the can collection point to be recycled for the City of Cornelia Fire Dept
 
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#45
Excellent write up Kyle. And I think I can speak for all the volunteers and for those that couldn't come when I say, thank you for your willingness and passion to organize the event.

As much as we hauled, there's still literally tons of garbage marring up some of our favorite haunts. I share your hope that our little attempt to clean up the mess will inspire others to take up the mantle of stewardship.

Thanks again for your leadership on this. Next time we head up that way, let's have fly rods in hand.:biggrin2:
 
#47
Awesome stuff guys. I'm really disappointed I couldn't be there. Man that meth pipe and pill bottle made me sad. I bet it was somebody's that had at one time been hunting or fishing up there with their daddy or something and thought they could relive how good life was back then. But the problem is, huntn and fishing isn't what it was when your strung out. No peace to be found in that stuff. God bless all and good work!
 
#49
Kyle I commend you and the fellow sportsman for your hard work cleaning up the forest we all enjoy. Would liked to have came up but had to work. But don't every one say that when the work is done. Will pay more attention during Turkey season to do my part.
 
Thread starter #50
Thanks to all for the kind words! The NGTO board of directors approached me about making this an annual event. It seems tempting, but me.......I'm not much for commitments. I'll commit to a fishing trip, to waking up early to hunt, to a cold adult libation, or to a pulled pork sandwich. Most other commitments take a backseat. Although I'd love to make this an annual event, Chattahoochee WMA is not the only place on earth, or in the NE GA mtns. There are lots of places that need attention. It just so happened that I just tend to spend a lot of time on Chattahoochee and knew where the trash was. I'm sure Cooper's Creek, Chestatee, Blue Ridge, and Lake Russell as well as others need some love, I just don't know where the garbage is there. Northeastgasportsman even mentioned Richard Russell Scenic Hwy to me , and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is correct, because I have seen the trash there myself. I don't know if I want to commit to an event being tied down in one place when so many other places need maintenance. Tell me folks, what are your thoughts? Do you think it may be practical to hold an event like this every year in a different location and for the same purpose? We would need intel from locals and "scouts" to give us the scoop on where the junk is. Sounds like RippleRider already mentioned one place up Owl Creek Rd. (RippleRider, is that along a section of NF?!)
 
#51
I can tell ya lake russell gets trashed at the campsites along the river! Looks like a war zone at times! Might be a good spot for a clean up in the future. Unfortunately there is no shortage of spots that could use a clean up day like this. Thanks for yalls hard work!
 
#52
BTW, TallChris is an apt username. That boy is lofty
LOL and yours is too. We love these woods so we will take care of them when no one else will. Just seeing those pictures of trashed campgrounds makes me mad. These public hunting, fishing, and camping grounds have been here for generations, but need to be maintained if we want to continue enjoying it. I remember the last summer the many tourists who came up to Chattahoochee to camp and enjoy the outdoors. Every season more people will come back and fill up all the campgrounds, but not if it's covered in old beer cans, burnt logs, plastic wrappers, and the discarded remnants of last year.

Killerkyle you're the man for setting this up. Folks he's a great guy and he thanked me profusely afterwards, personally as well as over text. It is my sincerest wish that finally meeting you, Kyle, Jboggs, and all the other guys who came by to help will start an enduring friendship for many seasons to come.
 
#53
Thanks to all for the kind words! The NGTO board of directors approached me about making this an annual event. It seems tempting, but me.......I'm not much for commitments. I'll commit to a fishing trip, to waking up early to hunt, to a cold adult libation, or to a pulled pork sandwich. Most other commitments take a backseat. Although I'd love to make this an annual event, Chattahoochee WMA is not the only place on earth, or in the NE GA mtns. There are lots of places that need attention. It just so happened that I just tend to spend a lot of time on Chattahoochee and knew where the trash was. I'm sure Cooper's Creek, Chestatee, Blue Ridge, and Lake Russell as well as others need some love, I just don't know where the garbage is there. Northeastgasportsman even mentioned Richard Russell Scenic Hwy to me , and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is correct, because I have seen the trash there myself. I don't know if I want to commit to an event being tied down in one place when so many other places need maintenance. Tell me folks, what are your thoughts? Do you think it may be practical to hold an event like this every year in a different location and for the same purpose? We would need intel from locals and "scouts" to give us the scoop on where the junk is. Sounds like RippleRider already mentioned one place up Owl Creek Rd. (RippleRider, is that along a section of NF?!)
I'd most likely be up for the owltown or coopers creek clean up if done. Also, there's a group that helped get the adult/child hunt done on coopers that might be useful for the coopers clean up.
I think it's a great idea to keep it moving but also get hunters involved in continually cleaning up areas we see that need attention. Im always picking up trash as I come across it, but have no way to dispose of tires and mattresses and other large items.

Well done Kyle and everybody!
 
#55
Someone has cleaned the worst of it up. Theres still 3 tires there, a large armchair, a grill and assorted bottles and cans. Picked up some of it but didnt have a trash bag in the car. I could hang a snatch-block on the upper side of the rd. run a rope through it and pull the heavy stuff up to the rd. if it doesnt come apart while I drag it. Would need one person to help. I might could get my nephew but he's coaching ball and awful busy.
 
Thread starter #57
It most certainly has Long Tom! This proves that all of this is going to be an ongoing battle. On the SAME DAY as the cleanup, volunteers had cleaned the first couple pull offs on Poplar Stump road cleaner than I have ever seen them before. Then after the workday was all said and done, as I drove past that first pulloff that had JUST been cleaned, there was a CensoredCensoredCensoredCensoredCensoredCensoredCensored' Mountain Dew can lying right there. I verbally said aloud "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! WE JUST CLEANED HERE THREE HOURS AGO!!!!" So, I got out and got that can.

I went there Sunday night to the very same pull off again, and though it was spick and span on the day of the cleanup, I filled a shopping bag slap full Sunday night with cigarette packs, aluminum cans, Dairy Queen cups, lids, napkins, wrappers, and spoons., among various items. I also went up to Martin Branch, and the old fire ring there was covered with crumpled up newspaper, magazine pages, and cardboard was lying all around. Unbelievable what people can do in a week!
 
#58
Not only what they can do but will do.
 
Thread starter #59
Y'all made it famous on the interwebs boys and girls! Thank you all again for showing up and showing out!!!
 
#60
Ive seen it all now. I rode one of my favorite F.S. roads yesterday evening off 180 near Brasstown Bald. Some special people have left a toilet seat mounted on a 5 gallon bucket not 20 feet from the road at the only decent camping spot on the whole road. NGSportsman knows where I'm talking about. There was a shower curtain next to it, for privacy I guess. I've found something like this left behind before on Sea Creek, but it was 50 yards back in the woods behind camp with a ziplock bag of lime beside it. No problem with that. To beat it all, these folks had put orange tape on every exposed root in the whole campsite. Talk about a pain to clean up. I had to leave the toilet for now as my only trash bag was nearly full with the rest of the trash from target shooters at the end of the road and the kids toys left at the campsite but I plan on coming back with disposable gloves and getting it. At least the bottom was cut out of the bucket. Otherwise I'm not sure I would have the stomach to dispose of it.
 
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