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Record number of volunteers supply efforts to Beech Fork cleanup

Apr. 08, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- When it comes to the cleanup effort at Beech Fork State Park, the bigger turnout, the better the cleanup, according to Assistant Superintendent Dillard Price.

A big effort certainly was what Price got from a little more than 100 volunteers, who scoured Beech Fork Lake and the roads leading to it to clear the area of 253 bags worth of trash and 57 tires during the annual Spring Clean-Up at the park.

The 2012 event was the largest so far, Price said. He said while it didn't hurt that participants received two free nights of camping at the park, the rewards for volunteers go far beyond a couple of nights of camping.

"It creates this sense of ownership for the park," Price said. "Whether they live in the area or they camp here often, when they drive through here, seeing trash along the road is not something they want to see. They appreciate the area being clean, and they know other guests do too."

The event is part of the West Virginia Make it Shine program, which, most notably, sponsors a statewide clean up during the first two weeks of April each year. The program is part of the state's Department of Environmental Protection, and it is aimed at making West Virginia the cleanest state in the nation through the efforts of state officials, volunteers, businesses and community organizations.

The clean-up effort remains popular at Beech Fork, where participants focus on cleaning up debris that finds its way to the edge of the lake before it is filled for the season, Price said.

Cindy Del Checcolo, of Barboursville, lives near the park, and she is a frequent patron of the lake, using it to kayak in the spring, summer and fall months.

Saturday marked her third year as a participant in the cleanup, and she said her kayaking experiences on the lake allow her to see a few things that other people might not.

"I kayak on the lake, and I get to see things at a slower pace. That means I can see the debris that tends to wash down into the lake from some of the creeks," Del Checcolo said. "A lot of us here feel like this place is one of our area's best kept secrets. It's a beautiful place with nice facilities and friendly employees. In my eye, it's the least I could do to give up one day and pick up the debris here to help this place continue to be nice."

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