Out and About

Swann Covered Bridge: call to action

Well, there has not been much out and about for me since the coronavirus changed our world. On occasion, I will have reason to don my mask and find my bottle of disinfectant. I had to get out last week because I needed some more t-posts and 30-pound fishing line for my garden. Did you know fishing line around your garden can keep deer out? I have not had a substantial garden in many years, but the “stay at home order” issued by the governor and uncertainty regarding the future motivated me to plant a big garden.

I still get out and about for the Swann Covered Bridge cleanup I lead for the Friends of the Locust Fork River the second Saturday of every month. Since the pandemic started, it has only been me on trash detail. That is by design due to the pandemic guidelines discouraging groups of people gathering. This May’s trash accumulation has broken all records.

This month there was a post on Facebook talking about all the trash littering the grounds at Swann Bridge, particularly at the beach area up river from the bridge. When I went there a couple days later, I found eight bags of trash at the beach that River Angels had already picked up. Bless their hearts! Caring people became involved keeping one of the most visited sites in Blount County presentable. No doubt they were embarrassed for visitors to see TRASH at such a beautiful spot. Almost every time I have been at Swann Covered Bridge, I see out-of-county or out-of-state vehicle tags – tourists visiting!

I love interacting with the visitors. I have talked to several photography clubs from around the state that were enticed to visit all of our county’s covered bridges. I met two stir-crazy ladies last month that left Louisiana at 2 a.m. just to visit covered bridges in Alabama for a few days.

When the water level is safe, kayakers from Tennessee and Georgia come to Blount County to paddle its premier white water. I have been on the river when I saw a dozen members of a fishing kayak club launch for a day of fishing on the Locust Fork.

We want visitors to enjoy what our county has to offer. You do know Blount County is “Awesome By Nature”… right? The Blount-Oneonta Chamber has coined this phrase to describe our county. Working together we can keep Blount County awesome by nature. We want tourists to have a pleasurable visit to Blount County to assure a return visit. Recently, I heard a painful story involving tourists. Let us hope embarrassing encounters such as that one are few and far between.

As for going out and about… how many of you have submitted pictures in the Friends of the Locust Fork River’s Art and Photo Contest celebrating Farms and Woodlands of the Locust Fork Watershed? It ends July 31. Send pictures to www.flfr.org.