TIMES-DELTA / ADVANCE-REGISTER
WEEKEND, JULY 6-7, 2013
PATHS TO THE PEAKS
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“We’re doing it as a payback to the area, and it makes you feel good because you’re cleaning an area you and many others think is beautiful. We want to keep it that way.”
BILL TEMPLIN a volunteer coordinator for the group Friends of the South Fork Kings River
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Group seeks volunteers for Kings River cleanup project
By Juan Villa, email@example.com
Leave it cleaner than you found it.
That’s the motto the Friends of the South Fork Kings River go by and something Bill Templin learned as a kid growing up in Tulare.
Today, Templin lives in Sacramento County and is a volunteer coordinator for the nonprofit Friends group that cleans more than 16 miles of road and river bank on the Kings River four times a year.
“We’re doing it as a payback to the area, and it makes you feel good because you’re cleaning an area you and many others think is beautiful,” said 62-year old Templin. “We want to keep it that way.”
The cleanups are from Boyden Cavern in the Giant Sequoia National Monument to Road’s End in [Kings Canyon] National Park.
There are three cleanups remaining this year – July 13, Aug. 10, and Sept. 7 – but participants are encouraged to stay longer on those weekends. They’re having two-night, three-day camping and fishing trips with the group.
The September cleanup is part of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Great Sierra River Cleanup happening Sept. 21 around the state.
In the first four years of that cleanup, about 14,700 volunteers have removed 550 tons of trash and recyclables from watersheds throughout the Sierra Nevada.
“We [camped and fished] all the time. We started by fishing and camping up there and then I’d always come back with a bag full of trash,” Templin said. “It finally dawned on me that other people might want to help with this and we could raise some awareness and teach people you don’t leave trash in a beautiful place like this.”
Templin has been visiting the South Fork Kings River for more than 50 years. It was where he first learned to fish for trout. Gary Tuttle, Templin friend of 46 years, has been visiting the area since 1949 and has helped with the Friends of the South Fork Kings River since it began more than 10 years ago.
“I’ve been going for 64 years, that’s my canyon,” he said. “I haven’t missed a summer yet. I like to camp and fish, so cleaning up along the river is no big deal.”
Tuttle and Templin were at the first cleanup this year, where more than 30 pounds of trash were picked up by about 19 volunteers.
The Friends of the South Fork Kings River recently adopted a portion of Highway 180 just west of the Kings Canyon National Park entrance. Caltrans requires the group to commit to four cleanups a year, so they typically hold them following heavy use holiday weekends.
One of the most common items picked up during the cleanups are cigarette butts. It’s an item studies have found even those who wouldn’t normally littler don’t have a problem tossing on the ground.
“It’s amazing the things people leave behind,” Templin said. “As the years go on, we seem to have more and more people who [don’t want to] carry their dirty diapers back so they stuff them under a rock.”
Those interested in participating should bring water, gloves, a hat, sunscreen and their bathing suits if they like to jump into the river. Templin said the cleanups are family-friendly and a great way to view the river.
What: Camping, Fishing and River Cleanup
When: Official cleanup days are 9 a.m. to noon on July 13, Aug. 10 and Sept.7.
Where: Meet just north of the Cedar Grove Store in Kings Canyon National Park.
Note: Participants are welcome and encouraged to stay for a two-night, three-day camping and fishing trip.
Contact: Bill Templin of Friends of the South Fork Kings River at 916-601-9954 or firstname.lastname@example.org.