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Volunteers work to make Beech Fork shine

Apr. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

BARBOURSVILLE -- Beech Fork State Park is open for business year-round, but Superintendent Matt Yeager says there is just something about spring that brings people out to the park in droves.

"If the sun is shining, you can bet there are people at Beech Fork," he said Saturday.

Sure enough, as the sun came up over the mountains surrounding the park's campground, about 125 people stood ready to clear debris from every nook and cranny of the park during the 5th annual Spring Clean-up Weekend event.

Yeager said cleanup events have been happening for a little more than a decade, but they only became part of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Resources and the state's Division of Highway's Make it Shine campaign a few years ago.

He estimated nearly 50 tons of trash and debris have been collected in that decade's time.

"It's very important that we keep up with cleaning the park, so the public can have a nice place to enjoy in their spare time," said Yeager. "We want to make sure they can come here and enjoy the natural beauty of the area."

Participants in the event clear the trash and debris throughout the park, including the areas surrounding its 275 campsites, six cabins, an Olympic size swimming pool, trails and picnic areas.

In exchange for their day of work, participants receive vouchers for two free nights of camping at the park, which certainly sweetened the deal for Jeanie Anderson of St. Albans.

Anderson, her husband and a couple of friends from the J.D. Camper Group have been coming to clean the park for about five years. The group travels throughout the state to camp at various parks each year in addition to traveling outside of the state for occasional road trips, said Anderson.

She said most of the people in the group enjoy volunteering their time as much as they do camping and traveling.

"A lot of work goes into taking care of these parks by the people who work here," said Anderson. "I wish everyone was dedicated to keeping things clean instead of discarding trash wherever they are standing at the time. If people just took better care to not toss out their trash just along the road and in our parks, they could see that in West Virginia we have a lot to be proud of."

Follow Lacie Pierson via Twitter @LaciePiersonHD.

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