I have to admit that I’d never been canoeing or kayaking prior to helping get the Dragoon River Romp started in 2006.
The week before our first event, I went out for the first time in a kayak with the county naturalist and fell in love with being on the water. I have since purchased my own kayaks, gone out on full moon and night floats and enjoyed the relaxing feeling of floating along.
I try to go out on the River Romp routes ahead of time to see if there are large items or troublesome areas. You see many things from a kayak that you wouldn’t from the shore. Likewise, if you stay on the river you might not notice a lot of the waste on the banks and sand bars. Obviously the waste is out there, proven by the almost 24 tons of garbage, appliances and tires our volunteers have removed in the past seven years.
I have met many wonderful people through this event, some who have volunteered not only for the cleanup itself but helped out with the planning process also. All of the volunteers are so special, and their excitement keeps me excited, too.
When our volunteers are back at Seven Oaks and having their lunch or waiting for the drawings we have, we ask them to complete a survey for us. These surveys give us ideas on how things might be improved or maybe just tell us they had a good time and what we are doing is right.
I love to hear comments like “I love this event! My dad and I do it together every year and it is so much fun.” “Keep with it. This is totally worth it for all, even the community.” “Great time Found amazing stuff as well as helping out the community.”
Parents and groups like Boy Scouts bring the younger generation into the volunteer process by having them participate on land cleaning up the boat ramps around the county. Most have a good time and love to share about some of the items they find. There are several parents who bring their children every year and say the kids look forward to it.
Rivers contain Iowa’s greatest remaining tracts of wildlife habitat. Rivers are some of Iowa’s best places for many types of recreation, from wildlife viewing and fishing to canoeing, kayaking or tubing.
The eighth annual Dragoon River Romp is coming Sept. 21. Would you like to join our efforts this year? Give us a call for a registration packet or download one from our website — 515-433-0591 or www.boonelandfill.org. Keep Boone County beautiful.
Information provided by Lois A. Powers, Keep Boone County Beautiful Dragoon River Romp Coordinator.