Tim Chitwood: Trail group trades barbecue, prizes for trash

February 15, 2014 

A bowling ball, rubber alligator, rubber snake, car parts, compact discs and pornographic DVDs.

These are among the items you may collect Saturday while helping the Pine Mountain Trail Association clean up 15 miles of right-of-way in Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. They're some of the things volunteers found before.

You do not get to keep the trash you find: I asked soon as I heard about the porn, which two workers found on the park's 1.3-mile spur road to Dowdell's Knob. The DVDs were destroyed.

You do, however, get a free barbecue lunch and the chance to win a free prize if you collect one of the "strangest" five things found on the roadside. The prizes are souvenir T-shirts and such from the park or the association.

Don't think you can show up late, get a free lunch and fake having found something you grabbed out of a garbage can on the drive up.

Jim Hall of the trail association says the cleanup needs up to 150 volunteers who show up on time, 9 a.m., at the park office on Ga. 190. So far just 50 have checked in, he said. Last year 140 helped out.

"If I can get a hundred and something folks again, we can do it in 2½ hours. And then about 11:30, they can come back, and we'll already have food there … and we put out all the goofy stuff out on display, which is funny."

Volunteers should bring gloves, water and if they have any, 5 gallon buckets.

"What we do is we just put the trash bag in the bucket, and carry that bucket to pick up stuff, and then when we get the trash bag about halfway full, just leave it on the side of the road," Hall said.

The park will take it from there.

"The park guys have got two flatbed trailers," he said. "They're going to go pick up all the stuff."

Now's the time for litter pickup, he said: "Right now is a prime time, because they cut the grass in the fall late ... so you can see all this junk."

No spring growth hides the old shoes, TVs, beer bottles or seat cushions.

Or the smoke grenade -- another odd discovery. It was not a cheap plastic smoke grenade from a fireworks stand. It was true Army issue, Hall said: "It was unexploded, so we had to turn that over to the sheriff's department."

If you'd like to go out next weekend and dig through some garbage, let the trail association know you're coming so it can order enough barbecue.

You can call Hall at 706-569-0497 or visit www.pinemountaintrail.org.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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