The 12th Annual Francis Marion National Forest Cleanup, held on Saturday, February 2, saw record numbers of volunteers and co-hosts who came to pick up litter from one of the state’s most popular outdoor recreational areas.
PalmettoPride and the USDA Forest Service, along with long time partners Keep Berkeley Beautiful and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department, coordinated cleanups in Berkeley and Charleston Counties, along roadsides and deeper in the forest.
New co-hosts included Blueway Adventures and Charleston Waterkeepers brought more attention to waterway litter removal as well.
“This year’s cleanup presented some challenges with the government shutdown,” said Sarah Lyles, executive director of PalmettoPride. “Having such strong partners and co-hosts for this event gave us the confidence we needed to continue on with our plans and not cancel.”
Volunteers of all ages joined together at Huger Recreation Area to make a big difference in just a few hours. The groups were directed to various roadside locations for smaller items of trash and debris, in addition to the groups that ventured into the forest with trucks, Jeeps and other equipment to tackle the illegal dumpsites.
The cleanup efforts removed 12,220 pounds of trash, including a half ton of tires and two boats from the forest. Each year, PalmettoPride sees the numbers of overall trash decreasing, which is a good sign. Consistent litter cleanup leads to less litter over time.