More than 50 volunteers came out to lend a hand at the 13th annual Smith River Clean up hosted by the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) on August 13. Volunteers, old and young, collectively removed 1,000 pounds of litter from the river during the three-hour cleanup.
Team members were from both North Carolina and Virginia, including employees from Boxley and Purina, the City of Martinsville Sheriff’s Inmate Workforce, and concerned community members. Some volunteers paddled in water craft, making their way down the river in canoes, kayaks, and Jon boats. Others walked alongside the river, picking up debris along the banks.
The cleaning effort focused on the section of the Smith River from South Martinsville to the Smith River Sports Complex, with additional sites for land-based clean up located at DuPont Road, Frith Road, Marrowbone Creek, Fisher Dam, and Eggleston Falls.
After the cleanup, volunteers returned to the Smith River Sports Complex for lunch and raffle prizes. The food was donated by Boxley and supplied by Hugos Restaurant and Sports Bar. Raffle prizes were donated by the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Henry County, DRBA and individuals. The complex supplied the tables and chairs for the lunch.
DRBA has hosted the cleanup for the past 13 years with the help and partnership of local organizations and the county.
Brian Williams, program manager of DRBA, said the cleanup teams notice a little less litter in the river each year. He added that DRBA stresses the importance of the cleanup and that everyone in the community benefits from a cleaner river.
DRBA’s mission is to protect the natural resources of the Dan River Basin. It uses a combination of education, recreation, and stewardship and works to create river accesses and trails, educate the community on how to protect our natural resources, and maintain our resources through monitoring and cleanups. In addition to Henry County, the Dan River Basin includes 16 counties in Virginia and North Carolina.