CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — You might think that a 16-hour clean-up of the West Fork River was something pre-planned by an environmental group, but it’s just something that 63-year-old Steven Hamrick of Harrison County decided he wanted to do when he saw a few tires in the river.
“I told my wife, ‘I see maybe a dozen tires down there in the river. I think I’ll go down there and get them the next day,'” Hamrick said during the MetroNews-affiliated “The Mike Queen Show.”
The West Fork river is the site of a contentious debate in Harrison County: whether or not to remove three dams and what their impact would be, positive or negative, on the environment and tourism in the area.
But Hamrick simply wanted to get those tires out of the river. He hopes that others will join in a potential clean-up effort to get anything else that might be in the river out of it.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of debris above them three dams, and if we can get enough volunteers to help the Fish & Wildlife–or they’ll do it themselves–it’ll take out a lot of wash machines, cars, car batteries, tires, garbage,” Hamrick said. “I think it’ll really make our drinking water cleaner.”
Hamrick’s efforts may get a boost from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. While they are continuing with their dam removal project, they will also contribute funds to a clean-up.
“Right now we’ve committed $30,000 of our money that we’re going to put towards that clean-up,” Nick Millett said. “We’ve had additional support from our regional director that says, ‘If it goes over that, if it takes more than that, we’ve got your back, and we’ll send more money to get it done.'”
Others have already expressed interest to Hamrick in volunteering to clean the West Fork River.
“I’m going to continue to help volunteer when they remove the dams,” Hamrick said. “If I’m available, I would like to continue. And since I’ve done this, I’ve had people calling me saying they would help out.”