Volunteers clean up Beech Fork water trail

March 24, 2019
Kristen King, of Huntington, hauls trash away from the riverbank as volunteers clear garbage and debris from the water trail stream on Saturday at Beech Fork State Park in Barboursville. VIEW OUR GALLERY OF PHOTOS AT WWW.HERALD-DISPATCH.COM.

BARBOURSVILLE — The water trail at Beech Fork is pristine and ready for the paddling season after a spring cleaning event, organized by the Beech Fork State Park Foundation, took place Saturday.

The water trail, which was officially designated as such by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the winter, is a 2.6-mile flatwater paddle that begins near the Beech Fork State Park pool and ends at the boat dock.

Beginning at 10 a.m., around 15 people took on around three miles of bank and shoreline and ended up hauling off 25 large trash bags worth of garbage and a few tires from the water trail. Fallen timber that was blocking the creek was cleared as well. The cleanup wrapped up around 4 p.m.

According to David Pruitt, assistant superintendent at Beech Fork State Park, cleanups like the one Saturday have a huge impact on the way parks are presented to the people who visit.

“Nobody wants to walk or paddle a trail covered in garbage,” Pruitt said.

Beech Fork will host its annual park-wide Make It Shine cleanup April 13. The cleanup, which has been going on for about 16 years, is a full day of volunteer service that Pruitt said is usually a very well-attended event.

Pruitt said the park needs anyone and everyone who can come to the event, as volunteers will comb over the entire 2,600 square miles that encompass the park, including roadsides and trails. He said the attendees are a diverse group of people, ranging in age from 4 to 82 and including Scouts, college students and families.

This year’s cleanup begins at 8 a.m. April 13 and ends at 4 p.m. Lunch will be provided to the volunteers. Volunteers who preregister to participate receive free camping April 12-13. Those who cannot camp that weekend will receive a free camping certificate for two nights.

To register for the spring cleanup, go to www.beechforksp.com. For any questions regarding the cleanup, contact the Beech Fork State Park office at 304-528-5794.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.