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Heading up the creek

CHESAPEAKE — Canoe enthusiasts can get a chance to enjoy the sport with other fans while doing some good deeds on a weekend morning.

That’s what will happen at the annual canoe caper at the Symmes Creek boat ramp starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

“This is the 15th year to have it,” said Grayson Thornton of the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee. “Time has really gone by. This is to show how important Symmes Creek is to this county as a source of water and a source of recreation for this county.”

Canoeists will meet at the boat ramp to begin a morning of gathering debris that has been tossed into the creek or come downstream from other waterways.

“We go out on the creek in canoes and kayaks and gather litter,” Thornton said. “We furnish the trash bags and everybody who participates gets a free T-shirt and free hot dog meal. We will have some live music.

“Every single bit of trash comes from people who live along the creek, up on the hollows. They put stuff in the ditches and the water washes it from the little creeks to the big creek.”

Canoeists will go about a mile up the creek that runs from Chesapeake to Willow Wood.

“This is to dramatize the efforts we have made,” Thornton said. “We have collected over a ton of trash and other times a few pounds.”

At noon when participants meet back at the boat ramp there will be a raffle for a brand new 14-foot Mad River canoe.

“That was donated by the National Wild Turkey Federation,” Thornton said. “For the last seven years they have donated a canoe and are one of our partners. Everything we have done is through partners. Partners are so important to us.”

Prizes will also be given out for the participant who collects the most trash and the one who gets the most unique item of litter.

Other partners include the Wayne National Forest, Ohio University Southern, Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Division of Water Craft and Judge Donald Capper of the Lawrence County Municipal Court.

Capper has community service workers maintain the yard around the boat ramp.

“For four years I mowed it myself,” Thornton said. “For the last four years or so, Judge Capper has maintained that property and has the equipment. That is another huge partner.”

Tickets for the raffle will be sold that morning and are $5 for two chances. Those funds pay for Saturday’s event along with signage at the ramps and a Christmas party for the public at the Windsor Grange.