Great Sierra River Cleanup draws a record number of volunteers |

Great Sierra River Cleanup draws a record number of volunteers

Roseann Keegan
Provided to the TribuneMembers of the Rotary Club of South Lake Tahoe picked up trash and debris at Cove East in the Tahoe Keys on Saturday during the annual Great Sierra River Cleanup.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. –  An estimated 4,500 volunteers collected about 151 tons of trash, appliances, car parts and other debris during the second annual Great Sierra River Cleanup Saturday. In South Lake Tahoe, 224 volunteers collected 2,642 pounds of trash, including five couches and 19 bags of trash from a single location.

Volunteers throughout the Sierra scoured beaches and riverbanks to collect paper trash, aluminum cans, plastic bags, cigarette butts, cardboard, glass bottles and more. Some of the more interesting items removed during this year’s cleanup include shopping carts, a bottle of moonshine and a boogie board.

Ellen Nunes of the Clean Tahoe Project and coordinator for the South Lake Tahoe effort, said one of the largest hauls was from Blackwood Meadows, an environmentally sensitive meadow off Ski Run Boulevard.

“This really speaks to the problem,” Nunes said. “It’s obvious we need to take better care of this meadow. It’s surrounded by insufficient Dumpsters and animals get into them on a regular basis … this just puts the exclamation point at the end for me when I look at these stats.

The Great Sierra River Cleanup took place at more than 125 sites in the Sierra in conjunction with the annual California Coastal Cleanup event. Combined, the two events make up the single largest one-day volunteer event in California.

There were 15 cleanup sites in South Lake Tahoe, led by volunteers businesses and service clubs, including the Rotary of South Lake Tahoe, the Kiwanis Club, the Soroptimist Club and even a group from the Bay Area Church of Christ.

Nunes said 61 members of the congregation showed up to Pope Beach specifically for the cleanup effort.

“I said, ‘What else are you coming up here to do?'” Nunes said. “They said, ‘This is it.'”

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