More counties, communities to join Giles County in New River clean up

Published: Apr. 27, 2016 at 8:54 PM EDT
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With Summer right around the corner, those in the New River Valley are already enjoying the river their region is named for.

The New River flows through Southwest Virginia beginning in Grayson County and moving all the way into Giles County before leaving the state. It's an important part of day to day life in the N-R-V.

New River Valley Regional Commission Executive Director Kevin Byrd explained, "The New River, not only is it in our namesake for this region, but it's also really important for drinking water for the communities along it. It's also important for industry, we have so many businesses that rely on clean water for their processes. And it's also important for tourism, people come here to experience this natural beauty. So we have to keep it clean for a lot of different reasons."

Giles County has spent the last 15 years cleaning 30 miles worth of the river in 10 mile stretches every year as part of their ReNew the New.

"We're removed thousands of tons of debris and trash, and we're almost at 3,000 tires removed now," Giles County Administrator Chris McKlarney said. "I think overall, the river's much cleaner today than it was 15 years ago."

And now, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Floyd counties, along with the City of Radford are joining the cause.

Radford Tourism Director said of joining in, "We spend a lot of time throughout the year promoting all of our river activities, fishing, tubing, just all around enjoying the river. So I figure why not spend a little time helping clean it up?"

Byrd said of the collaboration, "It's really exciting to see all these communities participate and collaborate together and helping to make that impact more real on the river. It's been remarkable for 15 years in Giles County and what they have as a model that we think can work in other communities. So to see their willingness has just been nothing short of remarkable so far."

So now these communities will join forces later this Summer to pull trash and debris out of the New River in one combined effort.

"We want to see as many people come out on August 27 for that cleanup date as we can possible have," Byrd said.

Cooney added, "It's going to be a great day for everybody. Folks that normally enjoy the river and maybe some new folks that never discovered the river."

On top of people, Giles County officials know they're in need of other support.

"Access to boats, we need more canoes," McKlarney said. "We typically have between 100-120 boats or watercraft involved in our cleanups and I think we're going to have more volunteers than we have boats this year."

Click the link attached to this article to learn how to get involved in the day of cleaning.