North Fork New River cleanup

New River Conservancy volunteers pull tires and other litter out of the North Fork New River.

HIGH COUNTRY — By the numbers, New River Conservancy spent the better part of 2018 restoring riverbanks, sifting trash from waterways and acquiring waterfront property to be converted to state park land.

The conservancy planted 18,802 shrubs and trees along 2.4 miles of river and stream in 2018, capable of removing 231,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year by the process of plant respiration, according to NRC Outreach Coordinator Summer Rich.

Helping the conservancy restore river and streambanks were 269 volunteers, Rich said. These volunteers also worked to remove 32,660 pounds of trash from the New River, including 801 tires — enough to put wheels on 200 cars, plus one spare for the road, according to Rich.

Old Camp Elk Shoals, located off Boggs Road, is in the process of being transferred from the United Methodist Church to New River Conservancy, and the land will be turned over to New River State Park once the deed is finalized, Ashe Post & Times has previously reported.

Elk Shoals sits on 350 acres of South Fork New River and would add another 13 miles of river to New River State Park — which already protects 26.5 miles of the river — at a price of $2.5 million, increasing park riverfront by 50 percent and adding one to two days floating down and camping along the New, according to NRC President George Santucci.

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