High school and college students, Boy Scout troops and others helped make Otter Springs Park & Campground a better place to swim, fish and camp. On Oct. 24, about 254 volunteers participated in a cleanup effort at the park. The event was organized by Current Problems in partnership with Gilchrist County, Karst Environmental Services/Karst Productions, WUFT and Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).
A dive crew and several Boy Scout members worked to retrieve 35 large rocks from the bottom of Otter Spring. A group of college students helped clean out trash and other debris in and around a sinkhole on the property. Other volunteers paddled in kayaks and canoes to help clean the spring run. In all, an estimated 8,215 pounds of garbage – including concrete, tires and a dumpster filled with trash bags – was collected.
“We are thrilled with the job all the volunteers did. They pitched in and made a tremendous difference at the park,” said Nancy Nieman, park manager for Otter Springs Park & Campground.
Nieman said while staff at the park keeps the campground and hiking trails litter-free, volunteers at the cleanup took care of areas less noticeable.
“They were going back in the woods, the bushes, the rough stuff,” she said.
Current Problems, which headed up the event, is an environmental group that conducts cleanup efforts for Northeast Florida’s rivers, lakes, springs and creeks.
Fritzi Olson, Current Problems executive director, said cleaning up waterways is important to protect the aquifer and ocean.
“What goes into them (waterways), goes into our drinking water. What doesn’t, will eventually float into the ocean,” she said.
Olson said cleanup events serve as a teaching tool that demonstrates the effects of stormwater runoff and illegal dumping.
“What we do on land affects our surface and ground waters,” she said.
Otter Springs Park & Campground, in Trenton, is owned by SRWMD and managed by Gilchrist County.
For more information about Current Problems visit www.currentproblems.org. For more information about the park visit www.otterspings.com.
For more information about SRWMD public lands, go to the homepage and click on Land Acquisition & Management.