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Canoe Caper brings out enthusiasts

CHESAPEAKE — This summer’s Canoe Caper was a family affair for the Adkinses.

Stephen Adkins and his father, Gene Adkins, came from Guyandotte, W.Va., to join Stephen’s brother, Phillip, of Chesapeake to take their kayaks up and down Symmes Creek looking for trash.

The trio has been kayaking for the past 10 years after Dad first took up the sport, but this was their first time to be part of the Saturday event focusing exclusively on cleaning up Symmes Creek.

“This is better social networking than Facebook,” Stephen said. “I thought this would be a fun family activity.”

Helping out was what attracted Gene to the event.

“People should not be throwing trash in the creek,” he said.

Plus getting another chance to be outdoors was an attraction.

“What would be worse than dying at home with the chips in one hand and the remote in the other?” Gene said.

Nancy Chappell wasn’t sure what she would drag out of the water this time when she and her husband, Hayward, got into their two-man kayak.

“One time it was a shopping cart,” she said. “It is amazing what people will throw out. It is not another man’s treasure.”

Alex Payne, who teamed up with fellow scout Dakota Wilburn, couldn’t count the number of times he’d joined the caper with his buddies from Boy Scout Troop 115 from South Point.

“I like to help the community out and (enjoy) preserving nature,” Alex said. “Canoeing is relaxing. You just go at an easy pace.”

The caper, in its 15th year, was sponsored by the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee, a group of volunteers dedicated to preserving and protecting that waterway.

By 10 a.m. canoes and kayaks were pushed into the water, just after Carson Hunt greeted the crowd of approximately 30.

“This is the umpteenth time we’ve done this,” Hunt said. “We have a good crowd. We have been blessed today. We have a lot to be thankful. … We need to work to the end to stay blessed.”

By noon the canoeists were back at the boat ramp, which is maintained by Tracy Ellis of Sky Lake, one of the restoration committee’s partners, for a hot dog picnic provided by Food Fair of South Point.