River cleanup and celebration   

From Staff Reports

  Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts (APE) will be hosting the annual Nolichucky River Cleanup at The Big Rock Campground on Saturday, June 19. Anyone is welcome to come and help clean up and beautify the Nolichucky River and afterward enjoy music from local musicians.
  Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the gazebo, for the gorge section, which runs from Poplar, N.C., to USA Raft in Erwin and includes class II-IV rapids. Registration for the lower section begins at 11 a.m.
  Participants will be assigned to clean teams and provided maps of cleanup locations. There will be plenty of cleanup areas for non-boaters as well as areas for individuals with their own hard boats or rafts.
  Tennessee Valley Authority will be donating trash bags and gloves for participants, and as in the past Cherokee Adventures and USA Rafts will be offering support. Carolina Canoe Club will also be teaming up with APEs this year.
  According to Debbie Briscoe, of APEs, they really hope to include the community and raise education and awareness on keeping streams and rivers clean.
  The past couple of years APEs collected approximately two tons of trash from the river bank. The U.S. Forest Service will be collecting the trash at the end of the day at Forest Service Chestoa take out and at Big Rock Campground. Briscoe is working with the Unicoi County Sheriff's Department on the issue of disposing of tires that have been dumped into the river.
  After the cleanup, Texas style hickory smoked barbecue and side items will be served up at the Big Rock Campground Pavilion, which is sponsored by Upper Nolichucky Watershed Alliance. Stormy Monday from Johnson City will be playing music at the event.
  Cleanup parties will have free parking and free camping Saturday night at Big Rock Campground.