|Updated: 8/31/2012 10:07 am
||Published: 8/30/2012 6:24 pm
Nearly 300 volunteers grabbed their trash bags to make Labor Day prettier along the Illinois River.
The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission held its Annual River Clean Up for the 29th year Thursday.
All the volunteers have reasons for cleaning up the Illinois River. However, most volunteers say their love for the river ties back to its impact on the environment, economy and everyday excitement.
"It was always fun. I got into kayaking there for a little while,” said former Northeastern State Graduate Amy Sanders.
She spent seven years in Tahlequah before moving to Tulsa but she says the Illinois River helped her find peace of mind.
"It was great to come out in the morning and enjoy our beautiful surroundings," she said.
Now, she and 278 other volunteers want to keep this river looking just the way they found it. The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission says when you get the community involved in events like this people take ownership and want to keep the river clean.
"We want it to stay here, we want it to stay clean, we want it to stay active and to be a positive recreational opportunity as well," said Katie Hawk, who also volunteered Thursday.
"It doesn't take a lot to help, to make a difference out here,” said Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Education Outreach Coordinator Cassandra Carter. “So, we're just so happy we had so many people show an interest in coming and supporting scenic rivers."
Carter says on average the volunteers collect a ton to two tons of trash each year. Volunteers say they realize protecting their environment also means protecting their futures.
"We want to do our part to give back and preserve what we have and keep it beautiful not for ourselves but future generations as well," said Sanders.
The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission gave out prizes afterwards that included free float trips and two brand new kayaks.