Monday, March 21, 2011

Riverbank Dumps at Dan River Shores Community

Assessing the 1st dump site

Saturday morning, March 19, 2011 dawned with the promise of a beautiful and warm Spring day. In the parking lot of the Dan River Company people with a purpose gathered with happy greetings. The purpose – clean up 2 riverbank dumps that boaters on the Hanging Rock section of the river have been tolerating (and griping about) for a decade or more.

Separating the metal

The dump sites began, ostensibly, as a home made erosion control project with objects like old bed springs, metal pipe, a few rocks and broken bits of concrete. Having taken on the appearance of a dump, others apparently began contributing construction debris and household trash.

In the ditch at site 2

Once our number rose to 11 at the DRC lot we loaded into three vehicles for the 2 mile trip to the riverside development. We armed ourselves with a few shovels and rakes supported by a big roll of trash bags and plenty of gloves provided by Stokes County Big Sweep coordinator, Sara Jo Durham. Bottled water provisions were supplied by Hanging Rock General Store.

A sign of improvement

After a brief evaluation of the situation, we fell to work bagging the trash and extracting the larger items. Plenty of wallboard and broken lumber along with heavy sewer and water pipe. We also collected a few stuffed animals and unidentified, mud-caked textiles. A microwave oven and birdhouse were among our more interesting "finds".

Two local residents, Greg Tahtinen and Philip Dodson, came down to chat, thank us for our efforts, and pitch in. We discussed what might be done to discourage further dumping and found out about other dump sites in more discreet locations. There is definitely more to be done in this unique development on the river.

Unloading at Sizemore Rd.

Many thanks to Mark Larimore (co-owner of Sheppard Mill) and Randy Young for providing their own trucks to haul everything to the county's Sizemore Rd. facility. Thanks again to Sara Jo Durham for taking care of the paperwork and to the County for waiving our tipping fee. Stokes County values healthy and clean rivers!

A happy, hard-working group

I also want to extend special thanks to Alan Wood, Stokes County Economic Development Director, and his son, Jacob, for taking time out of a precious Spring Saturday to show their support for the river. And, of course, Ben and Allison Kelble, Jimmy Newsome, John Davis, and Vanessa Melvin – thanks for pitching in!

Discussions are underway to post some “No Dumping” signs in the Dan River Shores community as a reminder for folks. No one wants to clean up the same dump site twice! Dealing with the erosion, streambank stabilization and trespassing issues will take more time and coordination among the residents and property owners in the development.

The Dan River Basin Association's Stokes Office is organizing two upcoming river sweeps in April and May in addition to sweeps by the Tarheel Paddlers Association and High Point University's outdoor program.


  1. It was an honor to work with everyone Saturday morning in the clean up process. I hope to be able to help to clean up such a wonderful area of the world.

  2. I had a good time helping out, and the paddle after was a blast.