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Canoe Caper helps keep Symmes Creek clean

Participants take part in the annual canoe caper event Saturday hosted by the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee.

Participants take part in the annual canoe caper event Saturday hosted by the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee.

CHESAPEAKE— Canoes and kayaks filled Symmes Creek Saturday morning as those who participated in the annual canoe caper event picked up trash in the area.

“We had at least 25 boats out on the creek with around 50 people,” Joe Benning, chairman of the Symmes Valley Restoration Committee board of directors, said. “It’s a good turnout.”

The committee was started in 1976 as part of the bicentennial celebration and incorporated in 1977. Past chairman and current trustee Grayson Thornton said the group’s efforts at the canoe caper event have paid off in that every year there seems to be less and less trash.

“There’s been less garbage each year over the years,” Thorton said. “Sometimes it’s hard to measure because of nature, but we can take a little bit of credit.”

Benning backed this up as well and said when the event first started, truck loads of trash were taken out.

Participants not only did their part to clean up the creek, but also took in great views from their boats.

“It’s nice to get out on the creek and do your part to clean up and make Lawrence County look nicer,” Benning said. “I can already see improvement. If it isn’t kept clean, people will use it as a landfill.”

Benning added that the youth participating have helped out the cause tremendously.

“When youngsters buy into it and take ownership of it, they’ll do greater things than what was done in the past. Our youth partnership is paying off,” he said. “They really enjoy this event and realize what a great asset we have.”

Getting more involvement at the high school level is what Benning said the group is trying to do.

“We have interest at Symmes Valley High School and Collins Career Center, and we want to get other schools involved,” he said.

Following the clean up, participants gathered for lunch, music and the raffle of a brand new 14.6-foot canoe donated by the National Wild Turkey Federation.