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Canoe Caper is Saturday: Clean up also serves as fundraiser

The Symmes Creek Restoration Committee will be having its annual Canoe Caper on Saturday in the continuing effort to keep the waterway clean of trash and debris.

“They started this in 1977,” said Joseph Benning, chairman of the board of the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee. “And it has grown since then. The group has made a canoe trail that currently has designated launch and recovery points from Arabia down to Chesapeake.”

This year’s Canoe Caper cleanup starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Chesapeake site.

Benning said the Canoe Caper has two goals, clean up Symmes Creek and raise funds to support the organization. They have purchased launch and recovery points marking signs and improved the launch site at Aid.

“Instead of having to climb down a cliff to get to the water, now there is a nice slope you can walk down to the water and walk out without a major hassle,” Benning said.

This year, they are having a raffle with the first prize being a kayak and the second place being a landscape photo.

The kayak is a 10-foot Prodigy Perception Angler.

“This thing has three different spots where you can mount a fishing pole, it has an adjustable anchor point so you can set your boat so it is just perfect when you’re casting into a fishing spot,” Benning said. “It is really a fabulous piece of equipment. It was donated by National Wild Turkey Federation for our fundraiser.”

The landscape is a framed photograph of Lawrence County scenery by Symmes Creek Restoration Committee member Carson Hunt.

“I haven’t seen it yet, because I like to be surprised when Carson presents it to us on the Saturday morning of the event,” Benning said. “We’ve never been disappointed and I have never been lucky enough to win it. It would look great in my living room. Carson is a very talented photographer.”

Participants are encouraged to bring their own canoes, as extras may not be available.

Benning said the number of participants has ranged from 75 on a nice day to 25 if it is rainy.

“But rain or shine, it goes on,” he said.

Local Boy Scouts have been active in the event.

“They own canoes and use them as often as possible to go camping,” he said.

Benning said the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee has extended over the years.

“We are working with a group up in Jackson County to extend the canoe launch and recovery points into their county right now.”

The Symmes Creek Restoration Committee meets on the first Monday of the month at the Lake Vesuvius Nature Center.