River APEs use resources to beautify quarry near Tweetsie Trail

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When push comes to shove, the “APEs” don’t monkey around when it comes to completing a service project.

Volunteers with the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts (APEs) were able to mix their love of paddling and the outdoors together Tuesday evening by hosting a cleanup event in a quarry located right off the Tweetsie Trail near Happy Valley Road.

Wesley Bradley, with the APEs, stated that 12 volunteers from Jonesborough, Johnson City, Elizabethton and Erwin were able to pick up nearly a truckload of trash in just an hour.

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“It was a chilly evening with temperatures in the low 40s and a few snowflakes falling, but our hearty group of tough APEs had their cold gear on and warm hearts willing to serve. The place looks a lot better now,” Bradley said.

Jennifer, Wesley’s wife, spearheaded the initiative which included a multi-prong approach from land and by see. Some volunteers were able to hike around the banks while others boated in the quarry.

USA Raft, based in Erwin, provided support for the event with volunteers and allowed the APEs to borrow a raft to “use as a trash barge” to aid in the cleanup, Wesley added.

According to the group’s website, since 1986, the APES — comprised of members from Northeast Tennessee, Northwest North Carolina and Southwest Virginia — have helped spotlight different water resources within the region while encouraging the public about outdoor activities.

Individuals wanting to get involved with the group can join the APEs by visiting www.riverapes.org or by searching Facebook. APEs will be back in Carter County on Saturday, March 17, to help with the fourth annual Bill Beazell Memorial Watauga River Cleanup. The group then head to Erwin on Saturday, June 23, for a cleanup of the Lower Nolichucky River.

The APEs have looked to have more outreach with the community. Months ago, they assisted with the installation of the river access point located across from Hampton High School.