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Canoe Caper couples community service with scenic adventure

Jon Combs scours the banks of Symmes Creek, in Chesapeake, looking to pick up garbage during the annual Symmes Creek Canoe Caper event Saturday.


CHESAPEAKE — For the younger folks taking part, it was a chance to paddle a canoe along a picturesque waterway and enjoy a morning amidst nature.

For the older volunteers, it was a chance to do something positive to make one of Lawrence County’s natural treasures a bit more attractive.

The 13th annual Canoe Caper, organized by the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee brought a dozen or so volunteers to the Symmes Creek boat ramp in Chesapeake Saturday. The idea was to spend an hour or two on the creek cleaning it up.

“Most of the folks in the group, I think, feel a need to give back,” explained SCRC Chairman Grayson Thornton explained. “They’ve fished in it, hunted along it, and now it’s time to give back.

The effort was aided by Boy Scout Troop 115 of South Point.

“It’s a tradition for the troop to help the restoration committee,” Scoutmaster David Hughes said. “We’re happy to be a part of it.”

Boy Scout William Johnson, 10, said he enjoyed the canoe trip. What’s the most unusual item he’s found in Symmes Creek?

“I found a about a 70-pound metal dresser type thing,” Johnson said. “I’ve found bottles, cans, lots of different stuff.”

Gene Adkins, of Huntington, W.Va., brought his son, Philip and grandson, Ke’marion, who is only 5, to help.

“I enjoy volunteering and I love to get out of the house,” Adkins said. “I’m not a house cat. And anytime I can get out with my kids and grandkids I’m all for it.”

At the end of the day, a canoe donated by the Wild Turkey Federation was given away. The restoration committee also raffled off a painting and rods and reels.

Prizes were awarded for the person who brought in the most trash and the most unusual piece of garbage.