Volunteers clean up Lookout Creek - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volunteers clean up Lookout Creek

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- One local non-profit is on a mission to keep Chattanooga's trail ways and waterways clean. Sunday volunteers took to Lookout Creek to clear out trash and debris.

The non-profit 'Wild Trails' has been around for the past 6 years or so and strives to preserve and maintain Chattanooga's natural beauty.

For the past several months, mounds and mounds of trash have collected in a log jam in Lookout Creek. Everything from tires and a refrigerator door, to a television could be found floating in the mess.

"You see it and you're actually stunned that there's this much trash and flotsam sitting in the creek that it's not able to flow freely," says volunteer Michael Scott.

Scott is just one of several volunteers who were giving their time to help out Wild Trails, whose sole mission is to keep trail ways and waterways clean.

Downed trees and heavy January rains all played a factor in the Lookout Creek clog but the built-up trash is the main concern.

"Hopefully some awareness will happen and people will say, 'Wow. I had no idea how bad it is,'" says Randy Whorton.

Whorton is a co-founder of Wild Trails. He says the trash, especially the plastic, can be harmful to wildlife, even deadly for birds.

"They don't chew things and they don't really taste, but they get attracted to the color and they swallow it whole just like they do the fish."

He says thanks to the hard work of volunteers, a part of nature will shine again for all to enjoy.

"I love getting out on the water and it is a pretty place, no matter if there's trash or not. Anytime you can get out in nature and do something positive for it, it's good all around," says Whorton.

"Whether you're cleaning up a dirty lot somewhere in the city or building a trail for people to hike in or clearing a stream, to me, this is what volunteerism is all about by giving back," says Scott.

The volunteers were able to make a lot of progress today breaking up the jam and clearing the debris.

Whorton says it is so important to keep Chattanooga's nature pristine, saying Wild Trails sponsors trail runs throughout the year, and visitors from across the U.S. come here to run.

Last year alone it gave out more than $50,000 in grants for trail clean up projects.

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