CASHMERE — Call it a river party with a purpose. Volunteers are needed for the third annual Wenatchee River cleanup from 9 a.m. until noon Sunday, Aug. 21.
“The Wenatchee River is a pretty big draw for people to this area. It’s our gem. We want it to be as clean and safe as possible,” said Matt Shales, natural resource specialist for the Chelan County Natural Resources Department. The department is working with Cascadia Conservation District and Chelan-Douglas Land Trust to rid the river and its banks of metal debris and trash while raising awareness about salmon recovery, Shales said.
Clean-up stations will be set up Sunday at four access points on the river where volunteers can base their projects. Sites include Riverfront Park in Cashmere, Lower Monitor Bridge in Monitor, Dryden Dam in Dryden and Old Barn Farm on Chumstick Creek.
Gloves, trash bags, other clean-up supples and refreshments will be provided. Experienced rafters and kayakers can float the river between the sites to collect trash and debris. Heavy equipment will be brought in to remove at least one vehicle from a site on the lower Wenatchee, near Monitor. Shales said the vehicle is an overturned Jeep that was swept away by the river during the 1995 floods.
The clean-up program began 2009 with funding from the state Department of Ecology. Private donations continued the program last year. The project received funding this year from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Salmon Recovery Fund. More than 120 volunteers have removed more than 7,000 pounds of metal and trash from the river over the past two years, Shales said.
Volunteers can register for various projects or just show up at one of the access sites Sunday. For complete information about where to go, what to bring and what will happen once you get there, check out the Natural Resource Department website: www.co.chelan.wa.us/nr.
Rick Steigmeyer, 664-7151