A major cleanup of the areas surrounding Beech Fork State Park in Wayne County will get underway full force on Wednesday, May 5. Several major roadways leading into Beech Fork, as well as area streams, will benefit from the cleanup, being spearheaded by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s REAP (Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan) program.
“There is a litter and trash issue along the roads used to access the park,” said Greg Rote, program manager for REAP.
REAP is bringing together an unusually wide variety of organizations to help in the effort. In addition to DEP and Beech Fork personnel, others signed on to lend a hand include the Division of Natural Resources; Western Regional Jail Day Report Center; Lincoln County Commission Day Report Litter Crew; and the Wayne County Solid Waste Authority.
Representatives from each organization will be on hand at the Beech Fork office at 11 a.m., Wednesday for an official cleanup kickoff. “This is the first time we’ve gotten this many different people to come to the table for one event,” Rote said.
Beech Fork attracts close to 400,000 visitors each year and, while the park itself is kept clean, park officials don’t have the resources to handle significant litter and trash problems in the areas surrounding Beech Fork. “You don’t want 400,000 people driving by each year looking at trash on their way into the park,” Rote said.
On Wednesday, REAP will begin collecting old tires littering the area; REAP contractors will start cleaning up area streams and dumps along Beech Fork access roads; and litter crews from Wayne, Cabell and Lincoln counties will work their way away from the park.
“This is not just a one-day deal,” Rote said. “It’s going to continue until we’re done. And litter crews will continue to clean these roads as needed.”
Roadways on the cleanup list include Camp Branch, Booten Creek, Hughes Branch, Racoon Creek and Beech Fork Creek roads.