September 9th, 2001 Squaw Creek Clean-up
by Gregory Vitale
It could have been a scene out of “Survivor”. Eight canoes were being walked, poled with sticks or paddled by shovels downstream laden with so much precious junk accompanied mostly by ragged and muddy youths. But it wasn’t. It was Dr. Jim Cobert’s and the amazing Skunk River Navy doing their first, and obviously sorely needed clean-up on Squaw Creek.
Rear Admirals Rick and I were about as wet and muddy, but we had paddles with us. This may have led to a bit of a riot but I claimed we were old geezers. With a few doubtful takers, we were never-the-less, left alone. Still we clung tightly to our prized paddles.
And nothing but fatigue could stop them. The recent rains didn’t; the cool air didn’t; neither did the brief sprinkles or the dam just downstream from Lincoln Avenue. We stood in the water shoulder to shoulder passing one canoe after another below the dam. Never-the less, wading in the mud color waters after the recent rains and the cool air left one student shivering by our late lunch stop. Fortunately, Rick had a couple warm fleece tops to share that made the needed difference.
Lunch on the river was carry-out. But, first there was a rigorous rope climb up the steep, muddy and slippery banks from the river. We posed for a group picture and effectively covered our impressive mound of trash. A car soon pulled up carrying boxes of Happy Joe’s pizzas. It was feast time. About then, the sun started to creep out from behinds the days’ clouds too.
Our break over, we again started the process of filling up recently emptied canoes with assorted trash, tires and one kybo (those plastic portable potties). Hours later, we wrapped up just downstream from the confluence with the Skunk River. By then the day was getting hot. We were all tired and muddy, but somehow, it was fun too. Squaw Creek smiled, a contented smile, glad that it was noticed and some of its needs address.
Note: September 22nd the Skunk River Navy cleaned up the Skunk River from North Riverside Park to SE 16th. The SRN has now cleaned every mile of the South Skunk from Story City to SE 16th in Ames.