(WBIR - Anderson County) Local fishermen, kayakers, boaters and other members of the public headed out to the Clinch River on Saturday in search of something other than fish.
It was all part of the first-ever Big Clinch River Cleanup which gave East Tennesseans a chance to come together to remove debris from the Clinch River and its bank.
Event organizers said around 80 people came out to help clean up 4 miles of the river on Saturday.
This year's community-wide effort is an expansion of an annual clean-up held by members of the Clinch River chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Buzz Buffington was one of the original people who helped start the group's yearly cleanups.
He said the idea came after he heard some people from out-of-state poking fun at the river's condition.
"We were fishing with a guide from Montana and we had a local guide rowing us in the river as well. We went over in the area where there was a big bunch of tires and somebody in the boat said 'in the west you have the Firehole River, that's in Montana, well Wyoming, and here we have the Tirehole River' and I was embarrassed. So I thought we have got to do something about that," Buffington recalled.
Buffington said over the past 12 years, his group has pulled around 3,000 tires off the river and another 4,000 off the banks.