Trails Corner 1-18-2022

Last week’s cleanup project at Tucker Creek proved a great success! We were gifted with three days of great weather, sunny, clear, and cold, which proved ideal for the cleanup effort at this illegal dumpsite on the Forest off the Highway 215 corridor near Balsam Grove. Turnout was strong, with groups of 15-30 volunteers showing up to pitch in each day.

Many signed on to work all three days, a real show of the community’s dedication to this important, long overdue, and challenging project. With the assistance of Forest Service personnel and their light machinery and local contractors from Cauble and Sons Grading with the big, long-armed track hoe, we were able to develop an efficient and effective system of tackling cleanup projects on steep slopes. This combination of light machinery, block and tackle, and large nylon masonry bags worked wonderfully over the three days of work at Tucker Creek and will be a useful methodology for similar dumpsite cleanup projects in the future.

Initially uncertain that we would be able to complete this project over the course of three days given the sheer amount of waste (layers and layers of waste with tires, box frames, couches, household trash, construction materials, and more) and the technical difficulty of removing it from the steep slopes above Tucker Creek itself, I am happy and proud to announce that we were able to finish everything we set out to accomplish. From the flats to the falls, we succeeded in cleaning up the entire 1.5 mile stretch removing a whopping 45,400 pounds of trash and logging a total of 367 volunteer hours over the course of three days! Quite an achievement for the inaugural project of our Pisgah Cleanup Fund! Founded just this past Fall, the Pisgah Cleanup Fund focuses on cleaning up illegal dumpsites across the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. With the support of this fund, TPC will be able to move forward in remediating these ill-used areas of the forest, protecting vital waterways and landscapes, and restoring them to a more pristine state.

Thanks to all who made this project possible! To those groups instrumental to developing the Pisgah Cleanup Fund: The Cindy Platt Boys and Girls Club, Trails Carolina, Headwaters Outfitters, and Woody Platt and the Steep Canyon Rangers. To all of our hardworking volunteers and collaborators from Headwaters Outfitters, Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina, Pisgah Climbing School, Cauble and Sons Grading, the Forest Service, and the Transylvania County Solid Waste Department. And great thanks as always to all of you for your continued support of the Pisgah Conservancy and Pisgah National Forest!