WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Approximately 40 Marine Corps recruits hiked through trails in the Red River Gorge to help remove 60 tires from the forest’s creeks Saturday afternoon.
The cleanup was a combined effort between Friends of the Red River Gorge and Lexington’s Marine Corps office.
“You know it's funny. You take a harsh environment. You take a problem. You take a marine and they all go together like boom,” said Dave McCreary, executive director of Friends of the Red River Gorge.
Sgt. Austin Akers had the idea to bring his recruits to the Gorge for the cleanup to teach them valuable lessons about what it means to be a marine.
“The mission of the Marine Corps is to win battles but that’s so much more than to sit behind a rifle,” Akers said. “To have these guys out here to teach them to give back, to leave places better than they found them, the basics of being a good person, that in itself was a selling point.”
McCreary explained the tires wash down the river over time from the communities surrounding the Red River Gorge.
He said he hopes seeing a group like this make an effort to clean their community will inspire others to do the same.
“Some people are going to litter no matter what, but the average person sees this kind of effort and they think a little harder about dropping that next plastic bottle or that next wrapper,” McCreary said. “If I could bottle the enthusiasm we had when those guys were in that last 200-yard sprint and get that into other people, we would not have a trash problem in the Gorge.”
If you would like to volunteer to help keep the Red River Gorge clean, you can find opportunities to do so on the Friends of the Red River Gorge website.