BENTON, Ark. — Volunteers at the Saline River say it’s time for a change.
With new projects like the Southwest Trail System, which connects Little Rock to Hot Springs, underway, they want the Saline Crossing to be a place to relax; not a place to dump trash.
“I think trash, makes more trash,” Michael Sacomani says.
Sacomani is trying to stop the trend one piece at a time.
Usually, the Saline Crossing is secluded and quiet; great for a getaway in nature, but it’s a double-edged sword.
“It’s actually quite a popular place for people to come and intentionally dump large quantities of trash,” Sacomani says.
Over the weekend, another trash can full of garbage was thrown out by the water.
The remnants still remain.
“It’s unfortunate because it ends up in our natural areas like this,” Sacomani says.
Especially after three weeks ago, the “Friends of the Saline” volunteer group came out and picked up almost 2 tons of trash. The loot included everything from old tires to a hot tub.
“So, real close to 4,000 pounds, that’s a lot of trash,” Sacomani says.
It’s also a lot of progress for an area with potential.
The Southwest Trail System will come through Saline Crossing and a half million dollar bridge is expected to be built in the next year.
But Sacomani, who owns Saline River Canoe, knows for people to want to come and use the amenities, it has to look desirable.
“We keep it clean and hopefully over a period of time that changes the culture,” Sacomani says.
Even if it takes volunteers’ time and effort for everyone else’s benefit, finding a solution will take a group effort.
“I know it’s kind of an inconvenience but if you don’t, who will?”
Sacomani says some people complain that trash service and landfill costs are too expensive and that’s why trash is dumped.
Other groups like Recycle Saline are providing vouchers to the landfill.
City and county authorities are also getting involved.