Logs and litter – these are impediments to having a healthy river system, and they’re among the chief targets of the Pike River Cleanup that the Kenosha Sportfishing and Conservation Association sponsors annually.
“We’ve pulled out computers and lawnmowers, trash barrels, steel barrels, rugs,” said event organizer Jim Zondlak.
All told, Zondlak and his fellow volunteers have pulled 125 tires and 100 yards of trash from the Pike, from Lake Michigan to Petrifying Springs Park, over the last six years.
They’ll be at it again this year, from 8:30 to 4 p.m. Sept. 16, and they’re looking for your help – from chain sawing log jams out of the river to picking up trash along the river banks and feeding volunteers. Helpers of all ages are welcome, Zondlak said.
Kenosha County Parks has been a supporter of the event since its inception, donating labor and equipment for the hauling of debris that’s collected, as well as a shelter in Petrifying Springs Park that serves as a home base for the volunteers.
County Executive Jim Kreuser said the cleanup is a worthwhile effort that helps to further beautify the community.
“Our waterways are one of our greatest assets,” Kreuser said. “This volunteer effort to keep the Pike clean and healthy is one of the many things that contribute to enhancing our community.”
This year’s Pike River Cleanup is sponsored by the Kenosha Sportfishing and Conservation Association in conjunction with Kenosha County Parks, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network and American Rivers.
“The Pike River is a very slow river, but when you have a high-rising river and you have impediments of logs falling into the river, what happens is the flow of resistance cuts into the banks of the river,” Zondlak said. “Therefore, trees fall into the Pike River, and the riverbanks start getting collapsed into the river.”
When banks weaken, trees fall in, creating further problems for canoeists and kayakers, Zondlak said. Meanwhile, debris and trash in the river impedes salmon and other fish that spawn in the river, affecting sport fishing and the river’s ecology.
“As of right now, it’s healthy,” Zondlak said, of the state of the Pike. “But it could be even better than it is today.”
Those interested in volunteering for the cleanup or donating food or water for volunteers are asked to contact Zondlak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-620-1680, or to reach out to the Sportfishing and Conservation Association at https://www.facebook.com/kenoshasportfishing/. Volunteers will meet on the morning of Sept. 16 at Petrifying Springs Park Shelter No. 6, near Highway A.
Volunteers are urged, if possible, to bring work shoes or boots, work gloves, coveralls, hip boots or waders, reacher sticks or long steal rakes, canoes, kayaks or flat-bottom boats.