This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Volunteers committed to cleaning up the Tennessee Valley spent their day of service for the third year in a row, cleaning up Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful teamed up with the Tennessee River Keeper to clean up the area one leader said has become a dumping ground.

The grounds are usually popular with hunters and fisherman who sometimes leave trash behind, but with the pandemic, KALB executive coordinator Leigh Patterson said the county’s scheduled litter clean up crews have been reduced, so that trash builds.

She said the pandemic has also led to more people taking advantage of outdoor activities.

“Because of COVID, this is a safe place to be, and so when they come out, they’re not thinking and they’re littering that area as well. I’ve heard a lot of state parks, national parks, having a severe litter problem right now,” Patterson said.

She says because the tributary flows into the Tennessee River — which in turn hits the Mississippi and onto the gulf — it is crucial that trash from our area does not make it to the major waterways.

Last year, Tennessee River Keeper officials said this event brought in more than 50 bags of litter. This year, they tripled that, bringing in 150 bags of litter.