Jackson County is known for its recreational and fishing water areas with Chipola River, Spring Creek, and Blue Springs topping the list for everyone to visit during spring and summer months. The attraction of these waterways brings tourists to Jackson County which brings income to businesses here. The down side is that with nearly 100,000 people converging on Spring Creek and the Chipola River in June, July and August the issue of trash and debris concerns residents along the river and creek. Residents with houses along the waterway are having to clean up after those visitors.
Property owners along Spring Creek and the Chipola River have had to pick up their fair share of trash left behind from tourists floating down the waterway. The land owners are questioning if there is more the county can do to keep some of the trash out of the water.
Chipola River property owner Danny Melvin is one who is concerned about what is being left in our waters. Melvin says, “Check when they come in our state parks, you know what do you have in your coolers, what are you taking in here, you make sure you bring this stuff out. Talk to the people.”
Melvin says that he and many others have picked up things like bottles, flip flops, deflated floats, and even diapers while they’re out trying to enjoy a day on the water.
Melvin also explained, “You have to continue to pick this stuff up on a regular basis or it’s just going to continue to be a trash dump.”
County officials say they plan to host bi-annual clean ups in an effort to curb the trash problem. Jackson County Parks and Recreation Director Rett Daniels said, “The plan is to have volunteers come out on kayaks or paddle or tube or whatever, and we’ll have our county vessel out here actually gathering garbage, putting it in bags and transporting it back and forth to the boat ramp to be removed from the area all together.”
Daniels says it’s almost impossible to make sure that visitors aren’t littering. Even signs explaining consequences don’t phase the tubers, but the county is constantly brainstorming ways to help the issue.
Melvin also stated, “You’ve got a lot of people coming here for the excitement and enjoyment of the waterways, let’s take care of it.”
Daniels says they haven’t set a date for either of the clean ups, but when it is set, it will be advertised in newspapers, the county website, and on Facebook. He is hopeful that although this will not solve the problem of the people littering but it will aid in keeping the waterways clean.