The year 2021 marks a special milestone for Friends of the Locust Fork River. Formed in 1991, the non-profit grass-roots organization has been dragging its “river conservation” soap box around for 30 years.
For 30 years, FLFR has proclaimed over and over the environmental significance and therapeutic quality of the Locust Fork River. For 30 years, FLFR has educated the public on why the Locust Fork needs protection and regular monitoring. I could share some of that information, but that’s not the point of today’s “Out and About.”
Today we celebrate FLFR and those who made it happen. This organization is the result of eight people with the same concerns sitting in the living room of a “friend” 30 years ago. FLFR is 30. That is a BIG DEAL!
Recently I attended a gathering of “friends” of the Locust Fork River. It was another opportunity to celebrate 30 years of stewardship on behalf of the people and communities in the Locust Fork Watershed. This gathering was exceptional. In attendance were several founders, past directors of the board, and committed volunteers eager to talk about and toast FLFR. It was indeed a special occasion.
At one point in the evening three people were front and center in a room filled with river advocates of different backgrounds, but with a common thread — respect and love for the Locust Fork River. The first president of the board and first executive director of FLFR were seated. The third person was a current board member who can claim to be the last of the original board members still sitting on the board of directors of FLFR. The stage was set to walk down memory lane and review FLFR history.
Some good ol’ stories were told. Some happenings made for a “cool story.” Most were quite worrisome at the time, but it all worked out. Your river is still free-flowing and FLFR is still dragging its soap box around. FLFR tooted its horn that night. It is amazing this volunteer organization is still alive and well after 30 years! Not often can a citizens group accomplish that feat since 95 percent of start-up grass-roots organizations eventually fold their tent and go home once the battle has been won or lost, but not FLFR.
I have been involved with this group for decades. I believe Friends of the Locust Fork River would not be what it is today without member dedication and support from hundreds – maybe even thousands – of caring people and like-minded organizations. The people of Blount County are a big part of the FLFR success. FLFR can pat itself on the back, and should, but many of you deserve a pat and a thank you. The Locust is free-flowing and relatively healthy because of your support.
With your continued support, the Locust Fork River will get healthier for your kids and their kids to enjoy. That is the plan. Stay involved. If you are not involved with FLFR, get involved. It is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Happy 30th Birthday, FLFR!
Learn more about FLFR and their activities, join, or donate at www.flfr.org.