SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Weather Doesn't Hinder Gravina Island Clean Up Volunteers


November 08, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - Although fall weather doesn't provide the best conditions for working outside, work is continuing on the Gravina Island Clean Up. Ketchikan Gateway Borough Code Enforcement Office Jerry Cegelske said there were five dedicated volunteers who braved the rainy weather on October 14th working to make Ketchikan a nicer place to live.

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Volunteers Jim Pomplun, Scott Willis, Cheryl Fultz, Ian Fultz, and Raymond Connor
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

Noting progress with the Gravina Island cleanup, Cegelske said the concrete sailboat which had been cut up was removed from the beach. He said the volunteers also collected additional material such as hoses, ropes, tires, boat wiring and other parts which had been the remains of another boat. Cegelske said, "They also collected a crab pot which had been in the narrows for a long time, as only the stainless steel portions were left as the iron had rusted away. Fortunately the pot was not fishing."

"The steel barge is about 75% demolished and would have been reduced more had the tide not stopped the work," said Cegelske.

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Remains of cut up concrete sailboat
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

On the Oct. 14th work day, the volunteers were able to fill a 10 yard box with 4,950 pounds of material in a short time. Cegelske said the were also able to remove about a ton of metal from the steel barge and the metal was later taken to the Southeast Car Crushers for recycling as part of Southeast Car Crushers' contribution to the clean up project.

The work on clean up is part of the requirements of a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center's Community-based Restoration Program. Ketchikan has to contribute approximately 40% of the grant in the form of donations and clean up activities in order to receive the full grant of $125,000 which is needed to complete the clean up of Gravina Island.

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The tide stops work on the barge
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

Cegelske said, "Thanks to the work of the volunteers over the last several months we are on our way to meeting the goal but there is much more to do." He said, "Next spring will be a very important time when most of the work will need to be done." Cegelske said he hopes folks can find time in their busy schedules to take a day or more to assist in this worthwhile project next year.

Cegelske said on an information sheet on the Marine Debris Program is a picture of hundreds of spent cigarette lighters that had been collected from the beaches in the area of a clean up. Cegelske said, "We in Ketchikan have thrown some of them in the water also, but we usually just dump our boats with oil, fuel, lead acid batteries, electronics, refrigerators with Freon and other hazardous waste on the beach or let it sink out of sight." He added, "Not to mention wooden docks which have exceeded their working lifetime, tires, ropes, nets, fuel tanks, carpets, outboards and tons of other trash."

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Collected metal from the barge taken to SE Car Crushers for recycling
Photo courtesy Jerry Cegelske

Cegelske said a recent article in the news stated that over fishing and pollution would work to destroy commercial fishing by 2048. He said, "Do you think that the dumping of hazardous wastes and allowing them to remain will not have an effect on fish populations in Alaska?"

"I have talked with a member of a service organization who will see if they can get some of their members to commit to the clean up and challenge other organizations to also help, said Cegelske. "It would be great if other organizations would take the time to help out."

Regarding trash and the project cleanup, Cegelske said, "This is where you live, what quality of life do you want? It is up to you."

If you or your organization are interested in participating in this project, contact Jerry Cegelske at 228-6621.



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