Red River Clean-Up
Twelve Years of Progress
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Another Successful River Clean-Up

Red River Clean-Up

By Russ Miller 2007
(several videos of the 2008 clean-up are available on under Red River Clean-Up)

This marks the eleventh year for the Red River Cleanup. Each year the river is in better condition than the year before. Presently, the condition of the river, while still not pristine, is one of tremendous beauty.

Unfortunately, a few selfish individuals are still willing to dump tires and household garbage into the river in order to save a few dollars. Add to this the unintended items such as children’s big wheel tricycles and basketballs along with coolers and shoes which wash into the river during heavy rains and you will understand the need for these annual clean-ups.

As the river has become cleaner and the reputation of the hospitality of our community has spread, we have attracted more visitors to our county. This stimulates our economy and gives others a chance to benefit from the restorative virtues of nature. The credit for this success belongs not only to those that participate in these cleanups but to all those individuals that have worked to make this a cleaner county. Together we have not only cleaned up Red River but we have eliminated open dumps, cleaned up our community and developed a higher environmental awareness in the progress.

This success also belongs to the agencies that have helped fund this work. These agencies include the Kentucky River Authority, PRIDE, the Cabinet for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the Wolfe County Fiscal Court, and the Appalachian Heritage Alliance.

It is said that to those whom much is given, much is expected. We have been given this beautiful place to live and I think by our actions we have proven worthy of it.

Mr. Russ Miller

Russ Miller and Romeo

Thanks to Russ Miller and other dedicated volunteers, the nationally designated "Wild and Scenic" Red River flows cleaner and clearer every year.  In the last eleven years, over 2,000 tires and countless bags of trash have been removed.

In the first five years of this project there was one River Clean-Up a year. In the second five year period, there were two Clean-Ups a year. This year, there were three.

Volunteers include local and community people, The Friends of the Red River, Bluegrass Wildwater Association, The Sierra Club, and college students.

Red River Clean-Up

Inflating the "rubber duckies"

A grant this year from the Kentucky River Authority allowed the purchase of four inflatable rafts. This greatly facilitated the clean-up process. Before this, Mr. Miller would spend countless hours before each clean-up digging up sand-buried tires and stacking them on the river bank. The volunteers, as they paddled by in their canoes and kayaks, would stuff the tires with empty milk jugs. This increased the buoyancy and allowed the tires to float. The tires were then herded like cattle down the river to where other volunteers extracted them. This was a very slow, frustrating, and difficult process. The inflatable rafts, the "duckies," are a tremendous help.

Red River Clean-Up

A "duckie" full of tires

Red River Clean-Up     Red River Clean-Up

Some tires are bigger than others. The rafts are a huge help- but it's still not easy.

 Red River Clean-Up   Red River Clean-Up 

But it's worth the effort.