Volunteers clean trashed island; man bitten by snake

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Kristy Ondo - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - An island in New Hanover County known as a camping destination was the site of a major clean up operation Sunday.

It was also the site of a snake bite incident involving a volunteer.  Witnesses said a snake bit a man in his calf.  It appeared to be either a water moccasin or a rattlesnake, but no one confirmed exactly what kind of snake it was.

The man was taken back to the mainland immediately and transported by ambulance to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.  At last check, he was expected to be fine.

The incident didn't stop close to 100 volunteers from paddling out to Island 13 in Wilmington, where they got down and dirty for the fourth annual Cape Fear River Watch Island Clean Up. 

Jeannie Lemon has participated in the island clean up for a few years but says this year's project was on a whole different level.

"Disgusting things," said Lemon. "Lots of beer, lizards, and spiders in this old trash can. Someone's toilet paper."

The gross things the volunteers stumbled upon went beyond toilet paper; they actually found a toilet.

"Someone was really lazy. They went through all the trouble to bring it out but couldn't take it back," said Lemon.

Some of the litter found can be a serious threat to the environment.  Volunteers found many toxic substances and items like batteries.  

"It's very sad. I think that people who enjoy the outdoors, who come out and camp, should respect it enough to leave it just the way it was or better," said Lemon.

Organizers with the Cape Fear River Watch hope that by cleaning the island, they'll set an example.

"I talked with some paddlers who camped in Keg Island after it was cleaned and they said the island is still clean," said Kemp Brudette. "It was covered with trash, but we cleaned it. If you go to an island not covered in trash, then you're less likely to leave trash."

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