Confehr: Cleanup makes the Duck River worthwhile

Friday, July 1, 2011

Among debris found in the Duck River during a Marshall County river cleanup a few years ago were two metal café chairs and a table high enough for the chairs. The table was crescent shaped, so it matched the chairs.

The assumption was that somebody either had a private party, or was running bar service in the drink, so to speak. If it's the latter, one might assume there's an enterprising individual who's made cool cash from cold drinks in the Duck River.

The river is worth so much more, but the story is an indication of why it's so important to take care of our natural resources.

Floating the river in an inner tube, or paddling downstream courtesy of a canoe service in or near Chapel Hill are also attractions provided by a natural resource that's good for you and me. Meanwhile, Lewisburg has promoted fishing in New Lake. Fishing in the river and its tributaries is pretty good, too.

Tourism is what economic developers call a clean industry. There's no pollution and, most importantly for local governments and residents, tourists here rarely need government services. They don't have children in the school system. Schools consume two-thirds to three-quarters of an average county's budget. Furthermore, tourists are out to have fun and they're willing to pay for it, so they're not likely to need other services such as law enforcement, a jail, the courts or fire suppression.

A list of those prominently noted Wednesday as participating in the river cleanup on Saturday is also part of the point here. They were: Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, who must administer or at least deal with the county's annual budget; Linda Mulliniks, the mayor's recently retired secretary and former chairman of the Petersburg Planning Commission; Lewisburg Economic and Community Development Director Greg Lowe; County Register of Deeds Dorris Wayne Weaver who keeps records of property sales; County Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas, who's always interested in waste removal issues and events; Lewisburg Mayor Barbara Woods who also tends to the public square's gardens; Chapel Hill City Administrator Mike Hatten; Cornersville Town Administrator Taylor Brandon who's been revitalizing his town's budget; Former Count Commissioner Larry McKnight who made environmental issues his cause while on the panel; Leslie Colley, manager of The Nature Conservancy's Duck River Program; Mandy Cash, a USDA rural development officer; Doug Murphy, executive director of the river agency; County Building and Codes Officer Don Nelson; Bob Hopkins, the county's emergency management director; and Joe Coble, a local businessman who chaired county's Coordinating Committee to orchestrate meetings, hearings and discussion for a revised 20-year growth plan.

The list could go on and on. It's generous people like them who make a difference. They made a big impact on cleaning the Duck River.

Mayor Liggett organized the river cleanup in this county. There were similar events in Bedford and Maury counties.

All of them were worthwhile and made the river better for this holiday weekend and others.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.