Volunteers In Tahlequah Clean Up Trash From Lake Tenkiller

Saturday, September 18th 2021, 9:27 pm
By: Johnny Resendiz

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Volunteers in Tahlequah helped clean up hundreds of pounds of trash from Lake Tenkiller today.

Tidy Up Tenkiller started in 2018 to clean up debris from the lake due to tornado and flooding damage.

It's their sixth event and Gena McPhail with Tahlequah Tourism says she is always surprised when she sees the number of full dumpsters at the end of the day.

"It's absolutely amazing," McPhail said. "Every time that we come out here, we always think, 'Oh my gosh we've picked up so much trash already, how can there be anymore left?'"

Much of the debris left from the storm are tires and styrofoam. But If you're in the lake long enough, the size of the trash you can find can be unbelievable. But McPhail says that's not even the worst part. It's the trash that people leave behind that make the job harder than it should.

"It's complete carelessness and I feel that trying to stop that starts with our children with education of what it really can do to our land," McPhail said.

This year was the first time they brought scuba divers to clean up underwater.

Carl Jack, one of the scuba divers, says he was glad he could combine his love for diving and his love for helping others.

"We're helping the environment," Jack said. "And I had a blast doing it. Diving is my thing. I can't wait to do it again and do it in other places as well."

Jack says he's also happy he got to work with people that care about the community as much as he does.

"Yeah, there's a lot of work to be done, but there's a lot of people who are willing to do it...can do it and know how important this is," Jack said.

The next cleanup is expected to be sometime in 2022.