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Volunteers set to clean up Shoals waterways this weekend

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FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s a natural resource which draws thousands of people into the Tennessee Valley. But the Tennessee River is in need of the public’s help. On Saturday, residents of the Shoals are being asked to help walk the shorelines to clean it up.

Native Americans call it the river which sings. The tranquil waters of the Tennessee River lure in tourists from across the world each year for various water sports.  It’s also the lifeblood for the Valley’s residents.

“This is where our drinking water comes from,” said Rachel Mansell with Keep the Shoals Beautiful. “It’s also what makes it such a beautiful place to live and high quality of life, so it’s important for us to keep it clean and take care of our waterways.”

For years Keep the Shoals Beautiful has focused their attention on roadways. Now they are turning their efforts to the shorelines.

Saturday morning, they ask residents to fill a garbage bag with items they find on Wilson and Pickwick Lakes in the first ever “Litter Tournament.”

“A lot of the litter comes from blow-out out of the back of trucks or people throwing it out of their car. But what happens is it hits our storm water,” Mansell explained. “So when it rains, it pushes the litter off the streets and it goes all the way down into our river and our waterways.”

For tourists and residents alike, the tossed aluminum cans and plastic bags are unsightly. And because of the importance of the cleanup, Keep the Shoals Beautiful is also expanding Saturday’s efforts to include river tributaries as well.

Large collection bins will be placed at four locations spanning Colbert and Lauderdale counties, and reaching both Wilson and Pickwick Lakes. These collection sites include McFarland Park, Killen Lock Six, TVA Fleet Harbor and Riverfront Park in Sheffield.

Litter grabbers, gloves and trash bags will be provided at each location for participants. Each 13-gallon trash bag brought in from the shoreline or Tennessee River waterways qualifies participants to one entry in the drawing for $500 in cash.

To pre-register, email KTSB@keeptheshoalsbeautiful.com or call 256-764-4661.