It’s hard to believe that school has started and September is right around the corner. What’s next? Christmas! I love summer especially when I am around water – the beach, a river, a lake or even a pool. When I was young we would go to the lake on a lot of weekends. In Wisconsin that was the thing to do. My mom didn’t swim but that didn’t stop her from taking me to the end of the pier, throwing me in and telling me to swim to my dad. Who cares if I didn’t know how to swim, I’d figure it out. Somehow that has been a metaphor for how I live my life. Jump in the deep end and swim.
Kayaking for Fun and Community
Wait, I’ve veered off topic already! This newsletter starts with being on the water in the summer time. So last Thursday I volunteered with Cumberland River Compact to clean up Mill Creek which flows into the Cumberland. The opportunity was very appealing because we would be kayaking down Mill Creek. And I love to kayak so it sounded like great fun.
Mill Creek Clean-Up
And it was, but it was also a lot of work. We by-passed the first mile as they had been working on that part of the creek for a few months and it looked pretty good. Once we got into the second mile of the four plus miles we were scheduled to paddle it didn’t look quite so good. Trash was on every bank as well as some floating in the creek. I pulled a big, torn up, deflated rubber raft onto the front of my kayak. When I pulled it out I disturbed a few crawfish but I assumed they would quickly find a new home in the mud. This thing was heavy and wasn’t going to decompose any time soon.
The creek along this section wasn’t terribly high as it hadn’t rained for several days. So there were lots of areas where we had to get out of the kayaks and walk them through the rocks. Because of the weight on my kayak I had to do this a little more than most folks. Getting in and out added to my work out of paddling a heavily laden kayak down the creek. I also had a bag and a half full of trash – plastic bags, bottles, cans, clothing, etc. and a part of a grill.
Tired But Successful
There were about 16 volunteers working that night and we all had our kayaks stacked with bags of garbage, old tires, mud filled piping, and various other parts and pieces. Along the way we saw an old jeep, two capsized boats, several dumpsters and many other larger items we could not get into the kayaks. After about mile 2.5 we could not fit anything else onto our boats and headed back to Shelby Park. Paddling a weighted down kayak which had filled with water due to the weight was quite a workout. I was exhausted and ready for a shower when we got back around 8 pm.
Clean Rivers Add Value
So what does this have to do with real estate you ask. Nothing and everything. None of the properties along this part of the river could easily access the river, so did they care that the creek is full of garbage. I am assuming not. But the trash doesn’t stay put it travels down the river. Property on or with access to a river are in high demand and those neighborhoods can demand higher prices, especially when the river is clean. It adds another dimension to the value of the property. And as creeks and river are cleaned, the neighborhoods around them improve.
I left the clean up with a few thoughts: First, pick up heavy things towards the end of the paddle, it makes thing just a little bit easier.
Second, I know people know they’re not supposed to litter but they still do. And I know I cannot do a lot to change their behavior. But I can help clean up not just the river but my neighborhood and areas that I frequent. Just picking up one piece every day makes a difference. And if more people did that we would make an impact. I know I will be back on the river next month helping the Cumberland River Compact again. What will you do?
And third, I wonder what systemic changes need to happen in the city that will help reduce or eliminate litter so that we have cleaner neighborhoods and waterways. If you have ideas let me know.
Cumberland River Compact
To find out more about the Cumberland River Compact go to cumberlandrivercompact.org. And to find out about their volunteer opportunites follow them on Facebook.
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