EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – The Deep Fork watershed is nearly as sprawling as Oklahoma City.
The waterway collects a big chunk of its wayward trash, blown by the wind and floated by spring rain currents to one spot in particular along the south banks and backwaters of Arcadia Lake.
Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) President Virgil Turner says, “Everything thrown on the streets, especially when it rains and runs into the sewer drains, all backflows into Arcadia Lake.”
Turner is long familiar with this little traveled part of the metro because he’s helped pick up trash here in years past.
On this late May morning, volunteers with Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Inc., and his own local Pepsi distribution team, more than 25 in all, fanned out with sturdy plastic bags and squeaky grabbers to pick up as much garbage as they could in 3 hours.
Another volunteer, Chuck Ralls’ day job is city manager of Comanche, OK, but the fisherman in him hates to see the high water mark along these shores.
That’s why, he says, “I enjoy the river and lake cleanups.”
Jeff Everett’s expertise flows along with water resources in his job at O G and E.
He’s volunteered for these cleanup days here as well and it constantly surprised by what he finds.
Jeff lists, “Car parts, shoes, and clothing. It’s like, ‘do people not see these things’?”
Howard Wickersham works for Warren-CAT and wishes he could get a big scoop shovel to the water’s edge.
Instead, he and volunteers collected hundreds of pound of trash by hand.
“To bring everybody out here and to be part of something like this is a great opportunity,” he says.
As long as rivers flow and the Oklahoma wind blows, there might always be a few items that find their way downstream to where the current slows.
This is an environment where fish and birds congregate as well, and where a remote shoreline, amidst a sea of people, looks a lot better with just a little bit of effort.
Jeff Everett argues, “If everyone would pick up one or two pieces of trash when they’re walking down the street, it would eliminate a lot of this stuff.”
The Keep Oklahoma Beautiful organization keeps track of what volunteers pick up each spring as part of a larger national effort.
Their records from 2021 through 2022 show volunteers in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties picked up more than 4 million pounds of trash.
For more information on KOB go to keepoklahomabeautiful.com.
Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union