OSFR is teaming up with Current Problems and new player Trail Trash Outdoors to clean up the garbage that human slobs keep dumping into the Santa Fe River.
Below is information that may be newer than some already published. The info here is the latest that we are aware of. Be sure to call Rum 138 at 386 454 4247 to let us know if you plan to join us for the cleanup.
Our community is indebted to Rum 138, owned by Merrillee and Doug Jipson, for hosting Our Santa Fe River, Inc. and providing meeting space and contributions for our boating activities. These go on throughout the year and include our Riverfest which effectively shuts down their business for a time. So many of their services are used so much we may take them for granted — thank you Merrillee and Doug.
This is an opportunity to give back to the river.
Our thanks to Mainstreet Daily News Staff Photographer Suzette Cook for use of her photos.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
The Santa Fe River clean up is scheduled after Labor Day weekend.
Travis Smith and Maverick Smith, with Trail Trash Outdoors will be filming for their YouTube Channel, and are
organized with Our Santa Fe River, Current Problems, and Rum 138. Diver James Merritt from “Into the Water with James” will be helping out as well with people in the water.
Volunteers will meet at 8 am each morning at Rum 138 (Our Santa Fe River Headquarters, located at 4070 SW CR 138, Fort White) to strategize logistics for the clean up day. On Saturday, they will be meeting at Rum Island Park between 9 am and 10 am to float downstream to Hollingsworth Bluff Boat Ramp.
On Sunday participants will meet between 9 am and 10 am at the US 27 Bridge and paddle downstream to Rum Island Park, collecting trash as they go.
For those who want to stay close to the park that is an option too. Some people may only want to do an hour or a few hours of service along the shoreline or at the park.
There will be a dumpster at Hollingsworth Bluff boat ramp provided by Current Problems with assistance from Columbia County. Volunteers will weigh all the trash before disposing of it.
Rum 138 is deep discounting kayak and canoe rental equipment and personal shuttles with their own vessels.
Special prices for participants:
$10 per shuttle your own vessel
$15 per volunteer, young or old. Includes paddle, vessel, life jacket in tandem kayaks, canoes or single kayaks. Also includes shuttling services to and from the river.
Here is an article from Mainstreet News by Suzette Cook about the Smith brothers and their trash cleanup work ethic. Go to this link to see the original article.
Travis Smith is standing on his younger brother Maverick’s shoulders trying to free up an extension cord that’s been wrapped and knotted around a young Banyan tree on the bank of the Santa Fe River just downstream from Rum Island.
After a little wrestling and a cut through with a sharp knife, the cord breaks loose and Travis, 32, barely lands on his feet in the shallow water.
These two brothers from High Springs are on a mission. Every week they launch their kayaks from various boat ramps along the Santa Fe River and pick up other people’s trash.
Pretty much anything you buy in a grocery store, we find,” says Travis, 32, who is retired military and a tattoo artist. Maverick Smith, 27, works for a tree company, but the brothers are focusing their efforts on creating a following on their YouTube channel Trail Trash Outdoors.
The channel is a blend of tag-along camping footage, adventure hikes, trash cleanups and even a Survivor challenge where the brothers race to see who can build the best fire the fastest. The bothers show how you can enjoy nature while protecting it at the same time.
Watching the brothers navigate the great outdoors with basic hunting and camping equipment and kayaks is highly entertaining not only for the imagery and fun video and sound editing, but because the brothers, who both have beards and tatts and like to laugh, take you back to hanging with your own siblings. Remember when you would take risks and egg each other on and laugh at those inside jokes that only a sibling can make?
The premise of the series seems to be two brothers taking in all that nature has to offer while leaving each place they visit cleaner and better off than they found it.
Travis says if he passes any litter no matter where he is, he takes care of it. “Who leaves that behind?” he says.
When they are not on camping or fishing adventures with each other or the rest of the family the brothers dedicate time to cleaning up after springs and river visitors who leave litter behind.
Most Mondays you can catch the brothers scanning the riverbanks for hidden beer cans, plastic bags, and flip flops. On a post-weekend trip from Rum Island to the rope swings past Ginnie Springs, they scored some disgusting finds.
A grocery bag filled with feces tied to a tree, a maxi pad, diaper, you name it.
Other kayakers and swimmers in the springs watch the pair travel through using their garbage grabbers. The brothers like to remind tourists that bottled water comes from the very springs they are hauling this trash out of.
They tackle both sides of the river and climb up onto the areas they know where people leave behind the most trash. Every trip they find at least one diaper and the latest trend is finding face masks.
By the time they travel close to two miles downstream and enter several springs including Ginnie Springs, they have eight bags of trash loaded up.
The trash levels start out low but the closer they get to Ginnie Springs you can see the volume rise.
“Every time we come, we try to hit that area,” says Travis. “You don’t see the purposeful littering until you get to the party zone,” he says referring to Ginnie Springs.
“They come from South Florida, North Florida, Georgia,” Travis says about the tourists.
When the pandemic shut down the parks, the brothers saw a break in the littering.
“When May came around, everybody started coming back to Ginnie and we had to hit it every weekend,” Maverick says. “A lot of people throw stuff off bridges.”
He climbs out of his kayak and walks up onto the banks and to find more beer bottles, then down river he starts picking up deflated rafts and floats.
“It’s so peaceful out here,” Maverick says. “Keeping it clean makes us feel good.”
For those who want to help keep the Santa Fe River clean, Trail Trash Outdoors is joining adventure outpost Rum 138 for a river cleanup on Sept. 12-13. Rum 138 will provide four free canoes to carry trash. For more information on that cleanup click here. [Ed. note: some of the information at this link is wrong, go with that at the beginning of this post.]
But, Rum 138 is only providing 4 free canoes to carry trash. People who need to rent kayaks and canoes or need to shuttle their own boats will still need to pay for that service. At a discount that we are willing to provide.
And to check out the Smith brothers as they enjoy and help nature you can see their Youtube channel here.