Last week cities around the central Kenai Peninsula mobilized their communities to cleanup thousands of pounds of garbage.
The city of Soldotna in collaboration with the Kenai River Professional Guide Association put an effective twist on spring clean up this year. Included in the week-long, citywide event was a focused effort along the banks of the Kenai River, and a revised version of “take a kid fishing day.”
Students from Sterling Elementary, Cook Inlet Academy, Redoubt Elementary and Connections Home School program were still taken to the Kenai River, but to clean up the banks, not fish the waters, said Soldotna City Council member Keith Baxter.
Redoubt students alone picked up 840 pounds of trash, Baxter said. Combined, the four schools picked up 1,783 pounds. Each individual, group and school was rewarded for his or her efforts, and prizes were given for every student participant, he said.
Integrity Janitorial picked up 301 pounds off the riverbanks, Baxter said. Ostrick White won with 168 pounds removed by one person, he said.
The event drew people from all over the Kenai Peninsula, Baxter said. Extra information was made available to event goers by Hallo Bay Bear Camp, Trout Unlimited, ReGroup Recycling, and Stream Watch.
The result of the Kenai River Spring Cleanup was a grand total of 2,494 pounds, Baxter said. This was only what was removed from the riparian habitat of the Kenai river, he said. Around the streets of Soldotna, thousands more were picked up in the borough-wide road cleanups.
Audrey Johnson said she quantified the success of Nikiski’s week-long community cleanup in pounds of trash picked up and pizzas eaten.
Generations of Nikiski residents picked up trash last week, Johnson said. The 200 families that spent hours cleaning off the shoulders of the North Road, consumed 36 pizzas May 17, at the culminating barbecue, she said.
Individuals and groups had picked up 800 bright yellow free BP trash bags, during the course of last week, Johnson said. Each bag can hold about 20 pounds. She said she was not certain the exact amount of trash picked up over the course of the week, but the numbers speak for themselves.
“It was a dedicated group of people,” Johnson said. “I cannot stress how proud of the families I am.”
Johnson said she was pretty shocked the young ones still had the energy to play on the Nikiski Recreation Center playground.
Louanne Stanton at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center said 770 yellow BP bags have been passed out since May 1.
And it’s not over yet, Bob Frates, Kenai Parks and Recreation director, said. Free trash bags can still be picked up at the visitor center.
Frates said so far he has been very pleased with the community members who have put in time to help out. He was impressed with organized efforts by city neighborhoods, particularly those around the Cook Inlet View Drive area, who tidied up their streets.
However, there is still a way to go, Frates said. The city is not completely clean.
Frates said he hopes residents will remain mindful of their trash bags when they continue to cleanup in the upcoming weeks. He said if any large groups get together they may call the Parks and Recreation office for assistance disposing of their trash.
Kelly Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com