Volunteers Work to Keep Arkansas Parks Beautiful

September 9, 2006 -- 6:45 PM CDT

WYNNE, AR -- Keeping Arkansas parks beautiful is the mission of the Great Arkansas Cleanup organization, and Saturday, volunteers gathered at Village Creek State Park in Wynne for its 18th Annual Federal Lands Cleanup Day.

"I love being outdoors," said Chris Jaggars, park official.  "It's a great thing...a lot of people come in and say, 'you've got a great job,' and I really do...just kind of helping everybody experience what I do, and enjoy the outdoors."

Alesia Thiel of Memphis, volunteered to help out.  She started picking up trash around 8:30 Saturday morning.

"My husband and I are celebrating our 12 year anniversary," she said.  "This is the state park we decided to come to.  It's so close to the house...it's about 100 miles from Memphis."

Thiel initially came to the park to do a little hiking, but that soon turned into cleaning.  About 15 other volunteers helped clean several parts of the state park.

"It's a small dedicated group...I guess you could call it," said Jaggers.  "We usually run about 100 people.  Last year we only had about 35 people, which is bigger than what we have here."

Volunteers were treated to lunch once their hard work was over, and Theil was the winner of a 20 inch television.  She wants people who missed out to know that picking up trash isn't so bad, even if it was on her anniversary.

"They're missing out on exercise...a lot of fresh air and a lot of fellowship of making new friends," she said.

Jaggars said that if it were not for volunteers, Arkansas parks would not be as beautiful as they are now.