Wake County Big Sweep volunteers set to clean up section of Crabtree Creek

Big Sweep volunteers celebrate behind piles of garbage collected at Crabtree Creek
Volunteers at the fall 2022 Crabtree Creek cleanup

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 13, Wake County Big Sweep volunteers will embark on a mission to clean up a section of Raleigh’s Crabtree Creek, a tributary of the Neuse River known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Using kayaks and canoes, volunteers will dedicate hours to removing as much trash as possible from the creek.

“Big Sweep is our flagship project that protects our watersheds and water quality, while promoting a litter-free environment," said Shinica Thomas, chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners. "Volunteers play an important role in removing harmful garbage that can jeopardize the water we drink, the areas we fish, the wildlife we love, and the beautiful waterways we paddle and explore."

Our partner, the City of Raleigh Greenway Division, will ensure that all trash collected will be properly disposed of, safeguarding the health of the waterway and its surrounding ecosystem.

Big Sweep organizes approximately 40 events each year, engaging volunteers to clean areas such as creeks, lakes and parks. In 2023, 1,329 volunteers participated in these events, removing an impressive 48,773 pounds of trash from our neighborhoods and waterways.

Crabtree Creek has been a focal point of the program over the past decade, with regular cleanups spanning from Crabtree Valley Mall to Lassiter Mill Dam. This year, the initiative is expanding its reach to include a new area between Wake Forest Road and North Raleigh Boulevard, which has not been targeted previously.

"Watercraft cleanups are logistically and physically the most challenging," said Alex Heinemann, Wake County Big Sweep coordinator. "Collaborations with partners like the City of Raleigh and Heidelberg Materials enable us to accomplish these events, emphasizing the vital role of community collaboration in protecting our waterways and natural habitats.”

Heidelberg Materials has been an invaluable supporter of Wake County Big Sweep since 2011, providing meals, crew assistance and boat rentals. Recently, the company furthered its commitment by generously constructing and donating a custom caged trailer to  store and transport boats and equipment. Heidelberg Materials also purchased six canoes, 10 kayaks, paddles, life vests and trailer signage to bolster the program. These contributions empower the program to operate autonomously and will support effective Big Sweep initiatives and waterway cleanups for years to come.

Wake County Big Sweep is a resident volunteer effort. For more than 30 years, Big Sweep has coordinated cleanups in Wake County focused on watersheds, streams, lakes and wetlands that ultimately lead to the ocean.

Press Release