By Ashley Rader
Dozens of Christmas trees are on their way to becoming new homes for the fish in Watauga Lake as the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Collecting of the Green is under way.
Monday was the first day the Chamber officially started collecting old Christmas trees to be used by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to build fish habitats in Watauga Lake. The trees will be collected until Jan. 8, when the TWRA will take them.
Just one day into the collection, a large pile of dozens of trees has grown in the Chamber’s parking lot.
Chamber Director Tonya Stevens said the collection has a branch up on last year.
“People have been setting them out since last week, but we already have more now than we did at the end of the collection period last year,” she said. “I think we have almost double.”
Stevens also asked that trees not be dropped off at Sycamore Shoals State Park, which used to be the home of the Chipping of the Green. Sycamore Shoals last hosted the Chipping of the Green three years ago.
Sycamore Shoals Park Secretary Johnnie Pilk said around 15 trees had been dropped off a the park this year.
“We used to do the Chipping of the Green with the city, but their chipper broke and that was the end of it,” she said.
She asked the public to drop the trees off at the Chamber so the TWRA could recycle the trees as fish habitats. Park staff will contact TWRA to see if the agency could pick up the trees left at the park.
“It is better that the trees be recycled,” Pilk said.
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