“I’ve pulled out a refrigerator before,” says Anna Alsobrook, an assistant French Broad Riverkeeper for the nonprofit environmental conservation organization MountainTrue. Several times each month, the organization’s volunteers paddle down Western North Carolina river in kayaks and canoes gathering trash. Tires, a child’s doll and a boat (broken into three pieces) are some of the other items Alsobrook has found while on the water.
On Sunday, June 19, MountainTrue, in partnership with French Broad Chocolates and Asheville Greenworks, will host a Father’s Day River Cleanup event. Jael and Dan Rattigan, owners and founders of French Broad Chocolates, will join the effort along with their two sons.
Jael considers the event a great opportunity to engage with the community, in addition to doing meaningful work for the local environment. “A healthy French Broad River supports a healthy foodshed, benefiting our local farmers and allowing us to source high-quality, local ingredients for our chocolates and desserts,” she says. “Dan and I are happy to be able celebrate Father’s Day by acting as stewards for this local landmark with our kiddos at our side.”
The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. with volunteers meeting at Hominy Creek River Park (click here for map). A fleet of eight canoes and 16 single-seater kayaks will be available for volunteers who sign up. “I think it’s a really cool way to celebrate Father’s Day for the whole family,” says Alsobrook, noting that MountainTrue recommends participating children be at least 5 years old.
The 4-mile clean-up will end at 2 p.m. at Jean Webb Park on Riverside Drive. Shuttles will transport volunteers back to their cars at Hominy Creek.
A celebration at Catawba Brewing Co.’s South Slope taproom follows the cleanup efforts. Catawba will pour its Astral Booty Beer IPA with proceeds benefiting MountainTrue. While the event is open to the public, those who volunteer with the river cleanup will receive a complimentary raffle ticket as well as a goody bag full of treats, including French Broad Chocolates’ seasonal, limited-edition Bourbon & Beer Collection. The raffle features gift certificates from French Broad Chocolates, Catawba Brewing Co., Buxton Hall Barbecue, Burial Beer, Vortex Donuts, Green Man Brewery and MountainTrue, as well as a pair of tickets for a whitewater rafting trip on the French Broad River courtesy of the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The raffle’s estimated value is $300.
“I know that Dan and Jael … were just so excited to get involved with us,” says Karim Olaechea, communications director at MountainTrue. “We do these things all the time, but it’s very rare that you have a partner that’s this committed to our river and our city.”
For more information about the Father’s Day River Cleanup, visit: http://avl.mx/2od. Raffle tickets are available to the general public for $5. All proceeds benefit MountainTrue.