Clearing the way for safer waters in East Ridge - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Clearing the way for safer waters in East Ridge

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Volunteers spent Thursday clearing a stretch of West Chickamauga Creek that leads to a massive log jam. They're making way for large equipment to get through Friday to clear the three-foot diameter tree.

"The whole root ball fell into the creek, expanding [the width of] the whole creek," explains cleanup organizer Jim Ledbetter. "The tops got hung up on the other side, and over the years more and more logs keep washing down."

This part of the creek meanders through Camp Jordan, a recreational facility in East Ridge. The jam has posed some small environmental concerns during the past four to five years. Water has been forced to flows around the jam, causing minor erosion along the banks.

"The pathway is going to swerve around and eat up a little bit more of Chattanooga and put it over on the East Ridge side," says Ledbetter with a chuckle. He says it isn't too bad and clearing the jam should keep the problem from getting out of control.

He's also removed trash and debris that have piled up here, stopped in its tracks by the virtual dam.

"Tires. Tires that have been dumped in the creek and washed downstream,"says Ledbetter, among the other junk he's found abandoned.

He goes on to say that the reason it's taken so long to clear the jam is due to logistics and lack of funding. Finally, the money and the manpower have joined forces to make it happen. It's a collective effort of the city of East Ridge, environmental groups, volunteers, and companies fronting the money as well as equipment at reduced rates.

For Parks and Recreation director Stump Martin it's also about clearing the way for a positive recreational experience.

"Canoeing is very popular and we feel like here at Camp Jordan we have one of the best opportunities with two canoe launches coming in," says Martin.

East Ridge resident Natalia Bates doesn't canoe but she's glad the project is making the area safer overall.

"Making it cleaner out here and better for the kids for the summer time. A lot of kids will be out here for the softball games and soccer," says Bates.

Ledbetter says he's thankful to all who are involved and now has enough qualified volunteers--a total of 30--to help get rid of this eyesore and hazard.
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