JONELLE BOBAK Staff Writer
The News Herald
Jun 4, 2017
More than 100 tires were recently removed from the southern part of the Linville Gorge thanks to a group of volunteers.
Approximately 20 volunteers who appreciate the beauty of the outdoors used vast amounts of teamwork to remove 130 tires that had littered the Linville Gorge near the Linville River.
“A little over a year ago we started with five of us,” said Dalton Walters, who volunteers with the group.
They came across a few tires and moved them to a place where they could come back and get them.
“Over the course of the next year we kept finding them all over the place and we created these little tire caches,” Walters said. “Then , finally we had a big group that went down there and moved all the smaller caches into one area and coordinated when we could all get them out of there.”
Back in the 1970s, there was a flood in Avery County that caused many tires to wash down into the Linville Gorge, he said.
There were big truck tires, smaller ones and some that still had the metal wheel inside of them as well, he said.
“It is not people coming in carrying tires and leaving them down there,” Walters said.
There may have been a stray one for another reason, but most were washed in during the flood, he said.
The group carried the tires to the edge of the wilderness boundary where a tractor then hauled them to some private property where they will try to see if they can be repurposed or recycled.
“Especially this particular group, we have a love for that area and the natural beauty,” he said. “Even though we love for people to go out there and us e it , we just try to keep it as pristine and as much of a wilderness area as much as we can because that is what it is intended for.”
He says the group wants to give back to the place that they all love spending time in, he said.
Those who volunteered sometimes participate in other trail work , especially on the west side of the Linville Gorge because those trails are not maintained by the state, Walters said.
The efforts were sponsored by Wild South and Fonta Flora Brewery.