Jackson County Tourism Development Authority (JCTDA) has once again shown its commitment to environmental stewardship by increasing its funding to $2,500 for the third year of the “Cleaning Up the Mountains” initiative. The funds will be used to purchase trash grabbers, to help pick up litter on roadways, sidewalks, and downtown areas.
JCTDA Director Nick Breedlove, who partners with County Public Works Director Chad Parker in the effort, stated that this year’s increased donation recognizes the importance of maintaining the pristine beauty of the mountains for both residents and visitors for generations to come. Since the initiative started, the JCTDA has invested almost $5,000 back into the community through this program.
In addition to supporting the “Cleaning Up the Mountains” initiative, the JCTDA has invested heavily in sustainability and stewardship. In 2019, the JCTDA completed its strategic plan, which recognizes the importance of preserving the beauty of the mountains. The JCTDA Sustainability and Stewardship Committee meets quarterly and includes stakeholders from Duke Energy, Western Carolina University, local outdoor outfitters, and more.
JCTDA heavily promotes Leave No Trace and #TrashTag, which encourages people to pick up trash along hiking trails. The JCTDA believes it’s important to set an example for visitors to the community and instill a sense of pride in maintaining the environment. In the last year, the JCTDA has also funded close to $15,000 in sustainability grants at Pinnacle Park and Panthertown Valley as well as trail maintenance for both areas. The TDA is also a recurring annual sponsor of the Tuck River Cleanup, which is the largest single-day effort to remove trash from the Tuckasegee River.
Jeremiah Hass, who oversees the efforts of the Tuck River Cleanup, announced that the 39th Annual Tuck River Cleanup will take place on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Last year, the cleanup removed almost 2,000 lbs. of garbage from the Tuckasegee River. Hass stated, “Over 39 years, if we took out 2,000 lbs. every year, that would be 78,000 lbs.”
The Annual Cleaning Up the Mountains event is held before the Greening Up the Mountains Festival, which is scheduled for April 16-29, 2023. To get involved in the cleanup or other environmental initiatives, please contact Kim Shular, Recycling Coordinator at 828-586-7509 or 828-586-7577.