Jim Sell trying to "catch" trash on the Greenbelt

Jim Sell’s trash-hunting equipment had at least one Greenbelt user asking, ‘What are you trying to catch?’ on Saturday.

Way back in the mid-20th century when Presidents Washington and Lincoln had their own holidays, children throughout the nation also celebrated the ancient holiday of May Day on the first of the month by circling the maypole while holding attached ribbons.

Jim Sell of Kingsport was among local volunteers celebrating May Day in a different manner this year. They were cleaning up the Greenbelt, an effort that will continue through the month. The trail, after all, extends more than 10 miles — much of it along Reedy Creek — and that’s a lot of space for members of Kingsport’s garbage community to pollute.

Such people are usually called litterers, but that doesn’t bring enough shame to their intentional disregard for protecting the world we all share.

Most of the trash was plastic or paper containers, but there were also a couple of bicycle frames and at least two abandoned tires, which city work crews will remove.

“It was a beautiful day, and we appreciate and thank all the volunteers who came out,” Keep Kingsport Beautiful Executive Director Sharon Hayes said. “Their efforts helped with the continued beautification of this public space, which improves the Greenbelt experience for us all.”

Whether or not you regularly enjoy the Greenbelt, you no doubt share the city’s pride in this wonderful stretch of green space enjoyed by an estimated 3,000 people weekly. But the Greenbelt needs your help in this cleanup, which is part of the nationwide Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup program. Cleanup sponsors are BAE Systems, Ballad, Domtar, Eastman Credit Union, Honda Kingsport and Republic Services.

Keep Kingsport Beautiful is a partnership of the city of Kingsport and the Kingsport Chamber and plans more cleanup events this month:

• May 8 — Greenbelt west end (meet near Rotherwood bridge).

• May 15 — South Central (meet at the Splash Pad shelter).

• May 22 — Interchange of Stone Drive and John B. Dennis Highway (meet at Honda Kingsport)

• May 29 — Lynn Garden (meet at Lynn View Community Center parking lot).

All cleanups will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Trash bags, gloves and trash grabbers will be available along with safety vests. The Greenbelt has gained recognition by being featured in Southern Living, receiving an award from the White House and for receiving multiple statewide recreation awards.

It was also a key factor for Kingsport’s designation by Walk magazine as “The Best City to Walk.”

Won’t you help to keep it clean?

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