The Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association brought litter prevention and sustainable tourism partners together on May 22 for a regional cleanup at four locations throughout the area. Together, the groups and their 50 volunteers collected more than 3 tons of roadside litter with approximately 150 bags of trash, furniture and tires.

Cleanup sites included Holston Mountain near Bristol, Buffalo Mountain in Johnson City, Highway 321 in Elizabethton, and East Stone Drive in Kingsport.

Participating partners included Keep Tennessee Beautiful, Keep Carter County Beautiful, Keep Kingsport Beautiful, Honda of Kingsport, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute, Northeast Tennessee Outdoor Coalition, and the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership.

“It was inspiring to see so many community groups and individuals come together in a true regional effort to clean up areas that make our area such a popular place to visit,” said Alicia Phelps, executive director of Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association. “As a tourism destination marketing organization, it is important we use our platform to not only share the story and outdoor recreation opportunities of Northeast Tennessee, but to also protect, preserve and educate.”

Northeast Tennessee outdoor recreation has increased since the pandemic began in 2020 as a popular hobby for locals, as well as for visitors.

“We hope to host this event annually, as it grows to cover even more areas in Northeast Tennessee,” Phelps said.

Tourism is the second largest economic driver in Tennessee with Northeast Tennessee generating more than $911 million in direct tourist spending and more than $27 million in local sales tax receipts annually. It also generates more than $194 million in payroll, while employing nearly 7,000 people.

To learn more about litter prevention efforts across the state, visit LitterFreeTennessee.com.

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