Photo by Tom Simpson
Blog by Julia Regeski

This year’s Sweep the Hooch was a record-setting trash cleanup, both for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) and the region.

1,154 volunteers pulled 32 tons of trash from the watershed as they walked, waded, and paddled at 46 sites up and down the river. That’s a 33% increase from last year, when 900 volunteers gathered more than 24 tons of trash from and along the Chattahoochee River and its tributaries.

“There are so many people and so much wildlife that depends on this incredible natural resource,” said Tammy Bates, Outings Manager at CRK, who worked over the course of months to put together this regional cleanup. “It’s our duty to take care of the Chattahoochee, and Sweep the Hooch empowers everyone to do so.”

Pretty much everyone, regardless of where they live within the watershed, was able to participate. The 46 cleanup sites spanned from all the way up in the Headwaters region down to South Georgia. Locations included:

  • The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (multiple sites within the park)
  • Georgia State Parks (Sweetwater Creek, Chattahoochee Bend, and Don Carter)
  • Hardman Farm State Historic Site
  • Morgan Falls Overlook Park
  • Moore’s Creek
  • West Point Lake
  • Downtown Helen
  • Lake Lanier Olympic Park
  • Proctor Creek
  • Peachtree Creek
  • McIntosh Reserve Park
  • Riverview landing
  • And more!

32 tons of trash being pulled from all these locations is quite a feat. Sweep the Hooch takes careful logistical coordination, both from the CRK team and from the community partners who hosted sites. We could not have had such a successful event without the help of our generous sponsors:

River Champion: Geiger (A HermanMiller Company)
River Benefactor: The Home Depot
River Defender: Orvis, Reduce
River Advocate: The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Brown Bag Marketing, David and Gail Chester, Collective Insights, Cool River Tubing Co., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Kimberly Clark, Ruby Collins., Inc., Southwire, SweetWater Brewery, WEG Electric Corp., WestRock
River Conservator: Bridgestone Tires 4ward Program, CHaRM, Republic Services
River Patron: American Rivers, Andrew Montgomery, Archer Western Construction, Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy, Cool River Ziplines, Georgia Aquarium, Keen, North Atlanta Rotary, Thomas and Hutton
Media Sponsors: WSB-TV Family2Family, The Atlanta Journal Constitution

While dragging garbage out of the river may not sound like everyone’s ideal Saturday, Sweep the Hooch is proof that sometimes the hard work is worth it. It took the dedication of every single volunteer to get so much trash out of our river; and don’t forget, this is the same place we get our drinking water from, where we swim and play, and where countless wildlife spend their time.

It may not be glamorous, but Sweep the Hooch has a deep and lasting impact on our precious Chattahoochee River. For that, and for all those who helped make Sweep the Hooch happen, we are grateful.

Weren’t able to make it to this year’s Sweep the Hooch? Don’t worry. In celebration of our 25th anniversary of keeping watch over our waters, we’re hosting more cleanups than ever throughout 2019. Learn more and stay up to date on when you can register here.