Hobolochitto Creek cleanup coming soon

Published 1:47 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

Outdoors enthusiasts and nature lovers alike will have the opportunity to help cleanup a local waterway in less than a week and a half.

Members of Friends of Boley met Thursday morning to discuss the upcoming cleanup effort, set for Saturday, May 7. The cleanup will focus on the same five mile section of Hobolochitto Creek, better known locally as Boley Creek, as the first cleanup late last year, from Long Bridge to Burnt Bridge. Meet points will be the same. Vvolunteers will enter the creek at Long Bridge, but this time will be encouraged to pull out at Burnt Bridge.

Friends of Boley board members met on Thursday to hash out a couple of the finer details, such as who will donate what and how they would like to see the public get involved.

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Vice president Derek Turnage said he would like to make a helicopter tour of the creek all the way to where it meets up with the Pearl River prior the the cleanup to get a good idea of where the worst log jams and trash piles are located. That information will allow the cleanup effort to better utilize the heavy equipment local volunteers will bring for the effort. Last year, a local resident donated his time and his aquatic trackhoe to breakup larger jams, and he’s indicated to Turnage that he would be willing to donate that time and equipment once again.

A former Picayune city council member, Jerry Bounds, has joined the efforts. Bounds is currently working with BP in the oil spill cleanup effort as a safety advisor, and he intends to lend his safety expertise to the creek cleanup. Bounds said he is willing to bring some safety glasses, life jackets and safety vests.

Canoes, or other small water craft, are a necessity when traveling along Boley Creek. The creek’s water level varies, depending on rainfall and the season, but for the most part only small water craft are very successful in navigating the waterway. Turnage said he has received a purchase quote from Okatoma Outdoor Post for ten canoes, paddles and the trailer for about $6,500. Turnage said the canoes usually go for about $1,000 a piece. A decision to purchase the canoes was not made on Thursday. Organization President Keith Kingrey said he hopes the board can find some corporate sponsors to help them purchase the canoes.

For this cleanup the board asks volunteers to bring their own boats out, and to not forget to bring their gloves. Kingrey did say that some trash grabbers will be available during the cleanup.

As for the water level, Turnage said he expects it to be about the same as when the last cleanup took place in November, which was relatively shallow. That means there may be some areas where people will need to pull their boat over a shallow spot or a log jam. Turnage said he hopes to get one float in prior to May 7, so that the major log jams can be made passable.

After this cleanup is behind them, board members would like to start work on establishing and building a nature trial along the creek so everyone can enjoy the creek, not just boaters. Kingrey said once the trail is built, then the board could enlist local Boy Scout troops to help maintain it. Turnage suggested seeing if some local businesses would be interested in adopting sections of the trail, similar to how flower beds are adopted in the city.

“We’re in the beginning steps of something I think is really big,” Turnage said.

Kingrey believes that a trail will bring people to the creek regularly, which could reduce incidents of littering and dumping.

County Fire Marshal Albert Lee said he can see people tubing from Liberty Road down to Burnt Bridge, if the cleanup was to move that far north in the future.