In Park


Nestled just outside the city of Atlanta lies the small National Park Service unit known as Powers Island. A hot spot year round for a much needed city escape, this park is one of many located along the Chattahoochee River. Providing visitors with forested trails, views of the river, and rafting or tubing opportunities, this park sees its fair share of usage. As a result, Powers Island needs volunteers to aid in maintaining this space for generations to come. 

In August of 2022, Parks Project teamed up with said volunteers under the guidance of our Field Crew Leader Sydney Marsman and Volunteer Coordinator David Thomas of the National Park Service. Arriving at 9:00am, we were greeted by buses full of eager tubers and a crowded parking lot, a normal Saturday morning for this park unit. The group of 20 volunteers was gathered over by the unmarked trail head, applying bug spray and signing in. 



There was a brief safety talk, followed by a quick identification of poison ivy, and the distribution of gloves, bags, and grabbers before we made our way to the site.

Located beneath an underpass, the site in question was filled with murky, stagnant water that had collected debris, tree limbs, and trash. The team dispersed, breaking off into small groups and gathering trash by the bag within minutes. Among the rubbish was a headboard, shredded tires, 20 lbs of tangled rope, and at least 50 tennis balls. After about an hour, we collected our trash pile and moved it out of the site, heading back to the checkpoint for a much needed water break and to reapply bug spray—that’s summer in Georgia for you! 



Collecting the bags of trash into a large pile, the team restocked with bags and headed onto the main trail, on the lookout for discarded water bottles, snack wrappers, and fishing line. Along the way, we noticed several invasive species including Chinese Privet and Bamboo—a task for another event. 

At 11:30am, we marched back to the growing garbage pile with more bags, satisfied with the work we had done to leave the park better than we found it. We collected 54 bags of trash in  total, that’s roughly 1000 lbs of trash that’s out of the park! 



You don’t need to go to Yellowstone or Yosemite to make a difference. Many of us are fortunate to have parks in our own backyard, a 10-20 minute trip to your favorite local spot that helps you recharge and reconnect with nature. These are the parks that need our help, our support, and our care. Next time you visit, bring along a bag, some friends, and a can-do attitude—you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. That’s how we leave it better than we found it. 


Parks Project teamed up with volunteers under the guidance of our Field Crew Leader Sydney Marsman and Volunteer Coordinator David Thomas of the National Park Service to clean up trash in Powers Island. 
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