CNB employees clean Illinois River after busy summer


(L to R) CNB employees John Morgan, Debra Paslay and Belinda Sinor bag trash left along the Illinois River. A number of volunteers from local businesses came together with the Oklahoma Scenic River Commission to clean up the area.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Wading through the slow-moving river currents, employee volunteers from Cherokee Nation Businesses recently spent time cleaning a six-mile section of the Illinois River, as part of the annual Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission River Clean-up.

An annual partnership between OSRC and river outfitters along Oklahoma State Highway 10, the free float trip is an attempt to collect the bulk of trash left behind from the summer.

“As an environmental agency charged with preserving the amazing qualities of our state’s scenic rivers, it is very important to the OSRC’s mission to get the public involved with volunteering efforts,” said Cassandra Carter, OSRC’s education outreach coordinator. “We want the public to have a sense of responsibility for these resources, because it takes the efforts of all of us to protect them.”

Numerous businesses signed up for the event, each designated to its own section of the Illinois River. CNB volunteers traveled along the six-mile float route from Diamondhead Resort, picking up trash, cans and debris left behind on past outings by visitors floating the waterway.

“It is always an honor to be allowed to represent the Cherokee Nation in such a positive manner,” said Belinda Sinor, a Cherokee Nation citizen and corporate safety manager for CNB. “I feel like I am a part of a company that cares about the communities we live in.” 

Collecting more than 2,000 pounds of trash, the 101 volunteers from various local businesses who offered their time for this year’s event made an obvious impact on the area, further beautifying the river for residents of Cherokee County and future visitors. 

“We strive to promote recycling, conservation and community service throughout the Cherokee Nation. Our employees do a wonderful job embracing and acting upon that vision,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “It’s important to make sure our water supplies are clean, beautiful and well preserved for future generations.”

The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission is a state agency established in 1977 in accordance with the Scenic Rivers Act. The commission is invested with the power to establish minimum standards for planning and other ordinances necessary to carry out the provisions of the Scenic Rivers Act. The primary emphasis of the commission is to preserve and protect the aesthetic, scenic, historic, archaeological and scientific features of the Illinois River and its tributaries.

To learn more about the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission or to see how you can help, visit

Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896 

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