Gloves, garbage bags and grubby clothes: Community cleanup organized for Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

MADISON COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) – At 35,000 acres, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in Alabama.  Encompassing both sides of the Tennessee River, it stretches from Huntsville to Decatur. For the last 76 years, the area has protected migrating waterfowl, along with endangered and threatened species.

However, Wheeler Wildlife Refuge is also quite popular with people. An estimated 700,000 people visit annually to fish, camp, kayak and bird-watch. Unfortunately, the outdoorsman’s adage of “take only pictures, leave only footprints” has gone unheeded by some of these visitors.

Twenty-one-year-old Tyler Clemons, a Madison County resident, enjoys spending time at Wheeler but says he frequently sees everything from beer cans to burned-out mattresses along the riverfront.  “Then, there’s people that will come out there and eat their lunch or dinner, they’ll just leave their trash… I guess so they don’t have to take it home with them,” he adds.

That’s why Clemons,  who organized a cleanup of County Line Road in Madison in July, is planning a similar effort at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. On Saturday, August 23rd, he asking anyone interested in helping to meet him between 8:30-9:00 a.m. the Grove Baptist Church at 12300 County Line Road in Madison.  At 9:30 a.m., volunteers will leave for the site.

If you’d like to help, you’re asked to wear old clothes and bring gloves, as well as a sack lunch. The cleanup is expected to last through the early afternoon. Garbage bags are also needed.

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