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Klamath River Clean-up

Published: April 8, 2008

Click this picture to view a larger image.

Yurok tribal member Micah Gibson hauls away trash at last year's Klamath River Clean-up.
Photo courtesy of Matt Mais/Yurok Tribe

By Michelle Ma, Triplicate staff writer

The shores of the Klamath River are once again ready for a massive clean up, and organizers hope Del Norters will grab garbage bags and join in.

Now it its seventh year, the Klamath River Clean-up usually draws 150-200 Yurok tribal members, employees and local residents to pick up trash along the river's lower stretches. The spring event aims to rid the river of trash to benefit fish and beautify the area in time for tourism season.

"It's definitely an important event for the community members," said Pam Kostka, a fisheries biologist with the Yurok Tribe and co-organizer of the clean-up. "The Klamath is a beautiful river and it's important to keep it that way."

Volunteers will gather at the Yurok Tribal Headquarters in Klamath next Saturday morning, then spend about four hours in groups picking up trash along the river from the mouth up to Klamath Glen. The event will conclude with a steelhead and lamprey eel meal, accompanied by traditional music. Various tribal departments and the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project are sponsoring the event.

This clean-up event is the largest of its kind in Del Norte County for the number of participants it draws each year, said Kevin Hendrick, Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority director. The authority budgets money each year to help with community clean-ups, and the transfer station will accept the trash collected from next weekend's event, Hendrick said.

"It's really a nice community function—people working together to make it all better," Hendrick said.

Organizers must raise about $1,300 to pay for clean-up supplies and the post-pick-up meal, Kostka said. They are raffling off four cords of firewood as a fundraiser and still hope to sell more $10 raffle tickets, she added.

Fundraising for the event has been a necessary activity most years, and a raffle is commonly used, Kostka said, although a number of local businesses have also offered support.

Registration for the clean-up has ended, but volunteers can still show up the day of the event. Organizers request that volunteers call the tribal headquarters and leave their names with the receptionist. Raffle tickets can also be purchased over the phone.

Reach Michelle Ma at mma@triplicate.com.

If you go

•What: 7th annual Klamath River Clean-up

•When: Saturday, April 12, at 9 a.m.

•Where: Yurok Tribal Headquarters off of U.S. Hwy.101 in Klamath.

Organizers request that volunteers who haven't registered call the tribal headquarters at 707-482-1350 to leave their names with the receptionist.

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