Impact of Tuck River cleanup

Troy Adams, WCU graduate student finds hubcap at Tuck River Cleanup

Western North Carolina is committed to maintaining the serene beauty that the region has to offer. This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Tuck River Cleanup, a testament to the support of the community at Western Carolina University.

“The Tuck River Cleanup is our yearly rehabilitation effort to maintain the natural beauty of this important resource”, said Jenna White, graduate assistant at Base Camp Cullowhee.

The Tuck River Cleanup has a significant ecological impact on the area. The importance of cleaning the Tuckaseegee River specifically, is that it has a huge watershed that flows through all of Jackson County. The river begins above Cullowhee, goes through the Glenville reservoir and flows through Panthertown Valley all the way to Fontana.


The amount of trash collected from the Tuck River Cleanup into Fontana is immense.  Several tons of trash is removed each year from the Tuckaseegee River as a result of the annual cleanup. This year, two 30-yard rollout containers, each half-filled with garbage were collected. Some of the most common things removed include shopping bags, tires, cans and bottles.

“It’s great to see students from different areas to take such a strong involvement to clean our county’s resources,” said Jennifer Bennett, assistant director of outdoor programs at Base Camp Cullowhee.

Approximately 670 people attended the Tuck River Cleanup this year. The cleanup took place from the start of Cullowhee Dam to Barker’s Creek and this stretch was cleaned continuously throughout the day.

Scott’s Creek in Sylva is a major tributary of the Tuckaseegee River and the amount of trash in that area is substantial. The Rotary Club and the Watershed Association of the Tuckaseegee River (WATR) have cleaned different stretches of Scott’s creek this year.

Nantahala Outdoor Center and Duke Energy were major contributors to the cleanup initiative this year. Their involvement reflects the importance of the Tuck River Cleanup to the community and shows their commitment to environmental issues.

The Tuck River Cleanup is the largest event that Base Camp Cullowhee puts on annually in numbers of participants. The Tuck River Cleanup was started in 1984 with several faculty members and students in canoes cleaning up the river. It has since evolved into the largest single-day river cleanup in the United States.

“The Tuck River Cleanup is a great opportunity for students and community members to work collaboratively on an important project”, said Bennett.

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