SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Bar Harbor & Thomas Basin Cleanup:
$12,000-$20,000 worth of grocery carts recovered


April 11, 2012

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Members of the Society of American Foresters, Dixon Entrance Chapter, the Ketchikan Yacht Club, Borough employees, and members of the community, as well as the Harbormaster’s Office, participated in the April 7th cleanup of Ketchikan's Bar Harbor and Thomas Basin. 

Lenny Neeley, manager of the City of Ketchikan Solid Waste Facility, and his crews will remove the material that was collected.

jpg Bar Harbor & Thomas Basin Cleanup:  $12,000-$20,000 worth of grocery carts recovered

Grocery carts collected from Bar Harbor
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

A low tide of -3.3 feet on Saturday gave the participants a chance to access some of the litter in our harbors that has accumulated over the past years.  Tires, insulation, pipe, batteries, carpet, zincs, paint brushes and rollers, plastic, electrical wiring, broken bottles, marine radio, bicycles and other material was collected before the tide once again covered the remaining material.

Borough employee Jim Pomplun, along with Dick Madden and Bob Durland both from the Society of American Foresters worked in the southern end of Bar Harbor and retrieved grocery carts, tires, bicycle parts rope and bags of trash.  Complaints had been received from residents of “The Point” about the carts and other material being in the water there.

jpg The other end of the collection of grocery carts and a bicycle from Bar Harbor.

The other end of the collection of grocery carts and a bicycle from Bar Harbor.
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

Led by Harbormaster Steve Corporon, Sam and Judith McQuarry along with Tom Schulz (Ketchikan Yacht Club members), and Niles Corporon recovered bicycles and approximately 40-45 grocery carts from the waters of Bar Harbor using a grappling hook.  The carts were then pushed, hauled, drug, or gotten to the top of the ramp in some manner and were placed behind Madison Lumber. Sam McQuarry said,  “It was fun, but hard on the back!”

Chris Baca, a recent transplant to Ketchikan who escaped from Houston, Texas where it's 115 degrees in the summer, worked cleaning up the area around and including the grid at Bar Harbor in the balmy 50 degree weather.  Baca hauled the bags full of collected material up the stairs from the grid.

Pat Jirschele and Steve Olson, also Yacht Club members, helped clean up the grid at Thomas basin before being chased out by the rising tide.  The bike at the mouth of Ketchikan Creek was also removed so residents and tourists will not be able to view it anymore.  A single grocery cart was also pulled from the water along with other material.

Pat Jirschele on his boat with material collected at Thomas Basin.

Pat Jirschele on his boat with material collected at Thomas Basin.  The bike will no longer be a sight for residents and tourists to look at from the Stedman bridge.
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

Jerry Cegelske, Code Enforcement Officer for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough said, "What many people may not know is that after the Forester’s helped clean up the harbor, they went to  Mile 6 on N. Tongass and cleaned that mile of road which they have consistently done several times a year for many years."

Cegelske said, "While working with some of the people on the cleanup, a story was related to me concerning some people in a local watering hole.  It seems that the discussion started with a statement on how it was a waste of money paying a Borough employee to pick up trash.  The discussion continued with agreement from the table members.  It was about that time that one of the members had an epiphany and stated “If you didn’t throw the trash out and about, you wouldn’t have to pay him to pick it up!”  After thinking about it, there was a general agreement that it was, financially, a good thing not to throw trash out where others had to clean it up!"

jpg Material collected from the area around “The Point”

Material collected from the area around “The Point”
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

Most of the 40 or so grocery carts pulled from the Bar Harbor waters came from the Safeway grocery store said Cegelske. He said with a value of $300.00 to $500.00, depending on the age of the carts involved, shipping costs, electronic devices and other factors, there was from $12,000-$20,000.00 worth of grocery carts thrown in the water which the store had to pay for - or should we say, we, the people that shop there had the cost of the carts added to our grocery bill.  Maybe the guys in the bar are on to something said Cegelske.

Cegelske expressed thanks to those that participated in the Bar Harbor and Thomas Basin Cleanup.  "Although you may not be able to see a big change, know that you have made a difference.  It is people like you that make Ketchikan a great place to work," said Cegelske.

For those that wanted to help but couldn’t due to factors beyond your control, more harbor cleanups are being planned for the future and Cegelske said your help would be appreciated. To volunteer, you can contact Cegelske at


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews




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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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