NewsCitrus, Hernando County


"River Ranger" volunteers devote weekends to picking up trash on the Weeki Wachee River

Posted at 5:03 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 18:32:55-04

WEEKI WACHEE, Fla. — Tired of seeing their river trashed by tourists, a group of locals are taking action to help clean up the Weeki Wachee River.

Thousands of people from all over the world travel to the Weeki Wachee river each week to kayak through its crystal clear water with the manatees. 

But they leave some stuff behind.

"Beer bottles, cans, diapers, tampons, pads," said Paul Vermeulen, founder of the Weeki Wachee River Rangers.

A group of locals who were tired of seeing the river trashed decided to do something about it.

"The purpose of this group was to say 'hey, let’s control what we can control, and if we need to go out and pick up trash because nobody else is, then that’s something we can control,'" said Vermeulen. 

In only six weeks the group of volunteers known as the Weeki Wachee River Rangers has cleaned up more than 1,500 pounds of trash from the rivers banks and in the water. 

The "rangers" pick up trash along the water's edge, have snorkelers who clean the river's bottom and they set out and empty trash cans that volunteers have bought with their own money. 

The Weeki Wachee River Rangers hope to raise awareness about more needing to be done to keep the river healthy and beautiful.