The community of Harlan County coming together to host Clean the Cumberland – Headwaters Hullabaloo

Bluegrass band, Cumberland River will perform at event on September 10, 2011

The community of Harlan County, Kentucky is banding together to clean up the headwaters of the Cumberland River on Saturday, September 10, thanks to an innovative partnership among like-minded groups.

The event is being sponsored by Kentucky Waterways Alliance (KWA) as part of a contest that asked people across the state to nominate their favorite waterway to win a cleanup.  After a public voting contest, Cathryn Forester, of Harlan, KY, claimed the prize for the headwaters of the Cumberland River.

“Winning KWA’s contest gives our project exposure and financing that we never could have gotten on our own,” said Forester.  “I am thrilled to see stirrings of hope in our community because of this and I believe with all my heart that life-giving water can resurrect health, pride and even a thriving economy.”

Since 1993, KWA has been working across the state to carry out the mission of protecting and restoring Kentucky’s irreplaceable waterways. “We are excited to partner with Harlan County and other groups to help clean up the precious headwaters of the Cumberland River,” said Judy Petersen, KWA executive director.  “The health of our rivers is directly connected to the health of our communities and it’s inspiring to see the good people of this community come together to protect their local waterway.”

Other sponsors include Harlan Tourism, Harlan County Fiscal Court and their Outdoor Recreation Board Authority, River City Canoe and Kayak, Cumberland River bluegrass band, American Rivers, Eastern Kentucky Pride, Rooibee Red Tea, and Cumberland River Compact. They are joining forces to tackle 8 targeted areas along the Poor Fork of the river and to celebrate afterwards.

About 200 volunteers are needed to clean these areas and organize the event.  Participants will meet at Harlan County Campground in Putney, KY at 9am and be transported or directed to various areas along the river.  Seasoned paddlers are encouraged to bring their own canoes.  Supplies and food will be provided to volunteers throughout the day. To be involved, or for more information, visit , the Facebook event page or call one of the contacts.

The event is also being hosted to raise public awareness about the importance of keeping trash out of the headwaters of the Cumberland – the birthplace of the river – and to celebrate the river’s importance.

“We used to call the river in Harlan County the Mighty Cumberland.  It was an important river – historically, geographically, ecologically and recreationally – but now it’s just a stream that’s barely noticed,” Forester said. “I won’t rest until I see the waterways here brought back to life again.”

After some hard work there will be a kayak giveaway, complimentary food and drinks, free water bottles, a Harlan County Waterways photo contest, a Waterways Quilt Block contest and live music by the Cumberland River bluegrass band.  With deep roots in Harlan County, the music of the Cumberland River band was recently showcased on the hit FX show, Justified, a series set in the city of Lexington, Kentucky and the mountains of Harlan.  The band is also celebrating their first national album release on Rural Rhythm Records (Nashville, TN).  For more information about  the Cumberland River band visit:

More Information:

What: Clean the Cumberland – Headwaters Hullabaloo

When: Saturday, September 10

Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Harlan County Campground and RV Park, 8331 Hwy. 119, Putney, KY

Why: To cleanup and celebrate the headwaters of the Cumberland River!

For more information about the cleanup or to find out how you can help sponsor or donate, please contact Cathryn Forester at (606) 573-9741 or Kelly Cook at (502) 589-8008.  To register for the event, e-mail or RSPV on the cleanup’s Facebook page here: