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Posted In: James River

Tireless effort aims to make James River tire-less

Andy Thompson

@richmondoutside
September 6, 2014 5:29pm

Any litter cleanup effort is a good litter cleanup effort, but there’s something about the James River Association’s now-annual “Tire-less James” that I really like. I mean, I pickup trash on every walk I do with my dogs or kids, not always a lot, but something every time. And every time, more new trash arrives. I’ve accepted this fact, even though I don’t understand it (It’s just not that hard not to litter). I’ve accepted that quite often it feels like the forces of good are losing (sometimes losing badly) to the forces of evil when it comes to litter. I’ve made my peace with that fact. I just repeat that famous line from Henry V — “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more” — and head back out.

Volunteers during last year's 'Tire-less James' fill up their batteau with tires. Credit: JRA

Volunteers during last year’s ‘Tire-less James’ fill up their batteau with tires. Credit: JRA

This is why I like the JRA’s Tire-less James effort: It feels like this battle is winnable. It feels like if you mobilized enough people up and down the river corridor, you really could rid it of tires entirely. Maybe I’m smoking something. Maybe more tires enter the river every year than I’d like to believe, but if this is a personal fantasy, it’s one I enjoy indulging.

Next Saturday, September 13, volunteers will take part in a massive one-day tire cleanup focused on the James. The JRA will partner with Virginia Canals & Navigations Society and the Boy Scouts of America for the event. Bridgestone Americas has returned to support JRA’s efforts by hauling away all tires collected during the cleanup. Through their Tires4Ward program, Bridgestone will find alternate uses for each tire collected by reusing, recycling or repurposing them.

During last year’s inaugural event, over 500 tires were removed from a section of the James River between Lynchburg and Richmond. This year, JRA is hoping to increase that number as “The Tire-less James” is extended to the entire length of the river.

“The James River faces numerous challenges on a daily basis, with pollution being one of the largest. By engaging volunteers in large scale cleanups like ‘The Tire-less James,’ JRA can have a direct and positive impact on the river here and now, “ said Pat Calvert, Upper James River Keeper.

Volunteers with boats that are appropriate for safely floating tires down a selected section of river are needed for the cleanup on September 13, 2014. Click here to register for the “The Tire-less James” cleanup or for more information. In order to cover the entire stretch of the James River from Iron Gate to Newport News, volunteers will be asked to register to cleanup a designated section and deliver tires to a set location for pickup.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?


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