If a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe I can supplement my words today with a couple of photographs taken from the trail that runs through Ridge Ferry Park and out behind State Mutual Stadium

The mess behind the Ga. Loop 1 bridge over the Oostanaula River near the stadium is the responsibility of the Georgia Department of Transportation to clean up. The mess at one of the piers that support the railroad trestle obviously are Norfolk Southern’s responsibility.

C’mon guys, help us out!

Rome and Floyd County have invested a lot of money in recent decades in the trail system, efforts to Keep Rome and Floyd County Beautiful, and the rivers themselves.

I completely understand that when the Oostanaula River floods during the winter and early spring, it brings a lot of debris south from Gordon and Murray counties.

It happens every year, but I am at a bit of loss to explain why. You’d almost think that every old dead tree in the floodway would have been uprooted and floated downriver by now.

The two piles of debris on the Ga. Loop 1 bridge almost look like beaver lodges on steroids. The one at the railroad pier is not nearly as bad as some I’ve seen through the years, but it is piling up pretty substantially now as well.

I’m sure those bridges are strong, but having mounds of debris pile up against those piers can’t be good for the structure. As they get larger and larger, they impact the flow of the river and can alter the course of the main channel.

Another problem that has been created on multiple occasions over the years is that the logjams can stay in place so long between cleanings that additional sedimentation flows down the river after significant rains. The sediment gets stuck among the clutter and creates a mini-island, or peninsula, out in the river. I’ve seen that happen many times at the railroad bridge behind the ECO Center.

I suppose the logs that are not visible above the surface of the water probably provide some nice protective cover for fish, but they can’t stay in there forever. Good fish habitat usually provides a great place for anglers to wet their hooks, but anyone tossing a line anywhere near those jams is going to lose his bait, his line and maybe the rod reel to boot.

I guess if there is a blessing to the logjams, it is that they have gotten big enough that they are catching the debris and preventing it from piling up on the Chief John Ross Memorial Bridge near the Forum River Center, where even more people are likely to see it and wonder where did all this come from.

Another problem with the natural debris is that, as it becomes so big, it starts to catch all the litter that inevitably washes into the rivers — and plastic bottles, old coolers and other trash sticks out like a sore thumb.

C’mon GDOT and Norfolk Southern, help us out! We’ve seen you with the equipment in years gone by; we know it’s there. What’s the deal, is it cleaned out on an every other year rotation or what?

I get that it is a pain in the backside to have to come and clean it out every year, realizing full well that the same problem is going to happen the next winter. But it has to be done.

Rome exists because of the confluence of the rivers here. The community has stepped up efforts to enhance use of the rivers for recreation in recent years. Heck, getting outside and enjoying a walk, or a bike ride, on the trails has been one of the few things people could do during this COVID-19 crisis and more people than ever are on the water in their kayaks and canoes.

C’mon guys, help us out !!

If it doesn’t get cleaned up soon, we’re going to get into another winter and the annual high water periods are going to bring even more timber down the river. Someone could get the idea that this was the Great Northwest of the United States, not Northwest Georgia. We don’t float logs down the river to sawmills in this neck of the woods, that’s reserved for places like Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Associate Editor and business columnist Doug Walker is always looking for news and tips about area businesses. To contact Doug, email him at DWalker@RN-T.com or call 706-290-5272.

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