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Canoe Caper set for Saturday

Goal of annual event to clean Symmes Creek

CHESAPEAKE — A little means a lot when it comes to cleaning up the boat ramp at Symmes Creek.

For about the past 17 years, volunteers with the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee have spear headed the annual cleanup of the recreation site and each year there seems to be less and less trash.

“Last year we didn’t get as much, which really is a good sign,” Grayson Thornton, chairman of the committee, said. “That means people are listening. And that’s part of what we are doing, is drawing attention to keeping the creek clean. And over the years, it seems to have made a difference.”

This year’s Canoe Caper cleanup starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Chesapeake site. There will be free food, musical entertainment and free T-shirts for anyone who gets out on their canoe to help clean the creek.

“The people go out in canoes and pick up discarded items along the creek,” Thornton said. “Tin cans, Clorox bottles, whatever they find in the creek.”

There are also prizes for the canoe that brings in the most trash and for the canoe that brings in the most unique item.

“We’ve had things like parking meters bought in, grocery carts,” Thornton said. “The most weird things you ever saw brought in off that creek.”

The Canoe Caper is also the biggest fundraiser of the year for the restoration committee. Raffle tickets are sold at $3 each or two for $5.

Grand prize is a new canoe donated by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Carson Hunt, local professional photographer, also donates a framed photo to be raffled off.

The sales from the tickets have gone to projects like the canoe trail signs that lead the way from Arabia to the Ohio River. The money also helps fund the refreshments and shirts on the day of the caper.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own canoes, as extras may not be available. Boy Scout Troop 115 in South Point will also volunteer and bring canoes.

“Our group is about keeping Symmes Creek clean and drawing people’s attention to what a great recreational place it is for the county,” Thornton said. “This boat ramp is a focal point for that.”