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Upper French Broad River Clean-Up Day

Saturday May 16th, 2020

The French Broad River Clean up remains the best volunteer gig in town: a free canoe ride down the river, along with a complimentary breakfast, lunch, and all the garbage bags you can fill. Since the inception of “The Upper French Broad River Clean Up Day” in 1992, the annual river clean-up has netted more than 2,900 garbage bags, 4,500 old tires and roughly 13 additional tons of trash along the upper French Broad. Over 3,000 volunteers have participated in the event, many of them returning year after year.


Volunteers show up at Headwaters at 9:00 am and will be treated to a light breakfast before being shuttled to a launching area in Rosman. Everyone will be assigned canoes (no kayaks please), paddles, life jackets, and garbage bags. Participants should bring sturdy gloves, river shoes and tools such as long-handled barbecue tongs to grab trash with. Its always a good idea to bring a change of clothing for afterwards!

After the clean-up wraps up, volunteers are served a lunch at Headwaters. Lunch is a light-hearted affair, with volunteers swapping tales of creatures hitchhiking in garbage bags and unusual finds excavated from the riverbed. Though support for the clean-up has remained steady despite hard economic times, new donations of cash or food are always welcome. Feeding 70 hungry trash collectors can get expensive.

We could not do this event without the gracious help of local businesses. I think they realize, as do we, that the clean-up has an economic as well as an environmental benefit. When the river is pristine-looking, visitors come more often, stay longer, and spend more money locally, which helps all of us who live and work here.

Volunteers Must Register online by going to

Anyone who would like to donate funds can send a check to the Headwaters Outfitters, P.O. Box 1057, Rosman, NC 28772.

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