The Bell County Holler Crawlers ATV organization is considered to be an off-road club open to ATVs, Jeeps, dirt bikes, side x sides, and trucks; however, the true nature of the club revolves around community action and responsibility.
The overall mission of the social organization is to bring the community together; to help jump-start a struggling economy by increasing the county's tourism revenue; to promote safe and responsible ATV riding; to help support other local organizations and local businesses; and to, lastly, help keep the mountains clean and beautiful.
The service club conducts multiple trash pick-up rides throughout the course of a year — in order to help keep the mountains clean, and help improve the image of ATV riding and other off-road activities.
ATV Club President and Adventure Tourism Director Jon Grace recently cleaned up an illegal dump site on the Mountain Drive property, and found evidence on who dumped the trash. Grace turned the individuals responsible into the local officials.
“The last dump I found, I cleaned it up myself and turned the evidence into local authorities — who are sure to hand out a hefty fine. The fine is certainly much more than it would have cost to dump the trash properly at the waste station,” Grace said.
“These dumps create a huge eyesore on one of the most beautiful tracts of land in our county,” Grace added. “The Bell County Solid Waste Station just is a few miles from the park and it costs very little to discard your trash there.”
Grace claims that the club has successfully cleared tons of trash from several dump sites on the property — removing everything from couches and washers and dryers, to carpet, bed frames, and burnt vehicles.
“The guys and gals in the Holler Crawlers come out here and give up their weekends to clean up these illegal dumps. I cannot thank our club members enough for all the time they have volunteered to help keep this property beautiful,” said Grace. “It is a shame that some of the locals care so little about our mountains that they would dump their trash in them.”
He then said that the ATV club has already caught several people dumping illegally with the help of local law enforcement.
“We will continue to have club members on the park keeping an eye out. We plan on stepping up our efforts on watching out for illegal dumpers,” stated Grace. “We have contacted some locals in the area to help us report the vehicles they see that may be hauling trash to illegal dump locations.”
Grace commended Dewey Brock and the people at the Bell County Solid Waste Station — as well as Bell County Fiscal Court officials — saying that they have been a tremendous help to the club regarding clean-up efforts.
“The club greatly appreciates all the help they have provided us.”
“Quite honestly, it infuriates me, because we are trying to achieve a positive thing for Bell County and we keep being slowed down by having to clean up other people's messes,” the club president said. “This park is becoming something great; we have brought in thousands of people to Bell County and this year should be our biggest yet. We would really appreciate people not making it harder on our club by dumping their trash on the park.”
Grace went on to say that club members were “eternally grateful” for the Asher family for believing in the off-road park project.
“One of the things our off-road club offers in return to them is the effort to keep the property clean, and so far we have done a great job at that,” Grace maintained. “But if people would just be considerate and not dump their trash in the mountains, our club could turn our attention to other areas of the park that need it — like trail maintenance and signage.”
Grace is currently urging all the people in communities around the park — such as Colmar, Hutch, Brownie’s Creek, and Calvin — to help assist the club in their clean-up efforts.
“If you see someone dumping on Mountain Drive, please contact the sheriff’s department and let them know immediately. This can be our biggest asset in keeping our communities clean.”
Grace concluded, “At first we took the dumps with a grain of salt, but no more. If we find out who is dumping, and in a lot of cases we do, we are going to make sure they are fined as much as possible. We are going to do whatever it takes to put a stop to dumping on this property.”
Adam Young is a Staff Writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.