‘Progressive’ attitude leads to big creek clean-up
One of the many items hauled from Cockrells Creek last week.
Some members of the Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship (NAPS) were worried when the organization decided to have its annual river clean-up on Cockrells Creek this year. After all, NAPS had just cleaned Cockrells Creek two years ago.
They needn’t have worried. NAPS members, Boy Scouts, boat captains and high school students hauled 3,800 pounds, “almost two tons” of junk from the creek Saturday, NAPS president Bill Estell said after the effort was over.
Estell said that a sunken boat found upstream from the Omega plant was probably the most interesting thing the cleaners found. “I don’t know how those kids towed it back to the landing,” Estell said. The boat, about 16 feet long was made of fiberglass and had been sunken long enough to have three-inch oysters growing in it. Fortunately, it had been left tied to a tree and the rope used to tie it held up as it was slowly towed to the landing at Smith’s Old Stack. Getting it out of the water was another thing.
The boat was upside down and air trapped in the bow barely held it out of the water. The rest was fully submerged. Clean-up workers managed to get a heavier rope around the boat and Monty Diehl used a fork lift to gradually lift the derelict to dry land.
The crews also found a great, long oil boom and brought it ashore. The boom at one time had apparently been around a derelict barge moored on the creek, Ida Hall said. The crews got it ashore one 10-foot section at a time.
Oil barrels and all sorts of other trash made up the balance of the haul. Once the clean-up was over, everyone involved had a lunch of fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans and cookies provided by Omega Protein.
Estell said that Omega deserves all the credit for this year’s clean-up. “They supplied the landing place, the food, the hand sanitizer and the port-a-potty. I give all the credit to Monty and his team.”
In addition to 16 NAPS members, a dozen members of Northumberland High School’s Beta Club joined the effort as did half a dozen scouts from Troop 200 in Kilmarnock. “Those kids were hardworking and enthusiastic,” Estell noted.
NAPS creek clean-ups started in the mid-1990s and continued until each major creek in the county had been cleaned. Then, after a pause of several years, they started again three years ago.