Scouts, schoolchildren and volunteers braved the rain to answer the call from the River Exchange to come out and bag trash found on the river’s edge.

Despite torrential rain, nearly 50 people showed up to clean the shores of the Sacramento River Saturday.

Scouts, schoolchildren and volunteers braved the rain to answer the call from the River Exchange to come out and bag trash found on the river’s edge.

“About 30 kids just went out there,” said Chris Stromsness, pointing at the road to river access in Dunsmuir City Park. He stood in the parking lot with a handful of other organizers, huddled under small canopies, the roofs of which streamed rivulets of rainwater.

He said that 30 included school children out to police the shores at the Prospect access and the one at Cantara.

Also sheltered from the deluge was Wayne Eng, long-time fly fishing guide in the region. He said he's participated in the annual event since its inception, in 1994. Asked it he's ever seen weather like this greet the Great Upper Sacramento River Cleanup, he replied, “Never.”

“I love the river,” added Eng, in explanation for why he pitches in. “I have a natural love affair with my office. That's my office out there.”

Just above the riverside in the park, huddled under the roof a tiny gazebo, scouting assistant Kristie Patterson led Boy Scout Troop 66 in the recital of its oath. Then the boys and girls pulled their hoods up and stepped out into the rain. Trailing trash bags behind them, they began to scamper toward the river.

“Not without an adult!” shouted Patterson, stopping more than a dozen kids in their tracks. “You don't go near the river without an adult! And you never go IN the river!”

Scouting assistant said this group was a mix of cub scouts, boy scouts and girls pitching in with the troop until girl scouts begins again in Dunsmuir. “They're more than willing to participate,” said Titus of the crew.

Patterson said she pitches in for the kids. “The last thing I want is for them to have nothing to do,” she said.

Across town, down in the city's public works yard, four students and a teacher sheltered under a steel roof overhanging the back of the building, as they sorted through bags of trash. Water cascaded off an overhead corner and spattered into a pool covering sunken asphalt two inches deep.

“It's cold!” replied DHS sophomore Isabella Glenn, when asked how it's going. “Just kidding!”

“No, it is cold,” agreed DHS science teacher Pamela Price. “But you're here and that's what counts.” She explained that the students were breaking up bags of trash brought in from river crews into bags containing only glass, aluminum, tin cans and recyclable plastics. “We can also handle hazardous materials, mostly batteries,” she said. “Everything else goes in the dumpster.”

To get the big trash bin they had to leave their shelter and wade through the parking lot. But, they all said it was worth the cold and the wet.

DHS junior Tyla Edwards said she was getting community service hours toward graduation requirements. Her sister, DES 7th grader Kaitlyn Edwards said, “I'm getting extra credit for my class.”

“And the wonderful feeling of helping out the community,” added sophomore LeAnn Rhoades.

Price, who has led the recycling team for the last four years, said, “I'm glad it's raining, because it's good for the environment, but I afraid there's going to be less participation.” She said normally there would be 50 bags of trash brought in by now, the halfway mark of the three-hour collection period. Currently, the team had received only six bags to sort through.

Later, during the pizza party and prize distribution, Price updated those numbers. “We got two more bags and two trash cans full,” she said.

“Everyone is a winner,” said River Exchange President Phil Detrich after the raffle and golden rock prizes had been given out to the audience of pizza munchers, mostly children, assembled in the basement of the Dunsmuir First Baptist Church. “Did everyone here get a prize?”

Prizes were given out for the Most Unusual, Most Fun, Most Reusable items found along the river today, as well as the Longest Ball of Fishing Line. One boy reported receiving an award for the Most Conductible. “I made that up,” said Detrich.

He explained that the golden rocks were planted by organizers along the river to be retrieved for a prize, and that those rocks were marked with the names of supporters who donated $250 or more to the River Exchange. Those nine sponsors, according to the River Exchange office Monday, are Berryvale Grocery, Big Bend Hot Springs Project, City of Dunsmuir, Cold Creek Inn, Cross Petroleum, Roseburg Forest Products, Starlight Productions and Ted Fay Fly Shop.

Prizes for Best Garbage awards, door prizes and gold rocks were provided by Dunsmuir Brewery Works, Mt. Shasta Resort, Mt. Shasta Ski Park, Pepsi Bottling Company of Mt. Shasta, Shasta Visions, Starlight Productions, Stewart Mineral Springs, and Cathy Tait.

The River Exchange is an information sharing non-profit dedicated to the preservation of local watersheds. For more information visit their website at www.riverexchange.org or call 235-2012.