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Ten Louisville Boy Scouts, their troop leaders and two concerned Spencer County property owners combined their resources and skills to make the Salt River a cleaner place over the weekend.
But there is still more to be done.
Evy and Gordon McKemie have owned property on the Salt River on Bowman Lane since 2008 and have known about the tire problem in the river for just as long.
Evy McKemie estimates that thousands of tires still remain in the river, but with the help of her great-nephew’s Boy Scout troop, Lincoln Trail Troop 67 out of Louisville, the river has 135 fewer tires than it did this time last week.
McKemie’s great-nephew Nicholas Koenig and his dad, Tom, mentioned to McKemie how the troop enjoys taking camping trips. Then, McKemie made the troop an offer it couldn’t refuse.
The 10 scouts and their leaders were invited to camp out on McKemie’s farm in exchange for a little help in cleaning out the river — including removing some tires.
The troop arrived at the McKemie farm around 7 Friday night and, because of the high winds and rain in the area, set up camp in the barn.
First thing Saturday morning, the scouts went out on the river in canoes and picked up trash while canoeing down the river.
After cooking their own lunch and earning a badge along the way, the scouts spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday cleaning tires out of a 150- to 200-foot section of the Salt River.
McKemie says she’s been told the tires were disposed of many years ago on farms surrounding the river, and over time have ended up in the river. She estimates thousands of tires are still along and in the river.
“The Salt River is such an incredible asset of the county,” McKemie said. “The tires are so disruptive of the natural beauty of the river.”
McKemie said she plans to hold onto the tires until the next state-sponsored tire amnesty program, so they can be disposed of properly.
“The have to come out one at a time,” McKemie said. “We need to unite as a community to get them out.”
The next Salt River cleanup day McKemie is planning is Sept. 29. Land owners with known tire problems are welcome to contact McKemie at 299-0770 with their address and river access information.