The Sugar Runners, comprised of (from left) David Buck, Chris Turrell, Lydia Whipple, and Megan Hatley braved the drizzly weather of April 26 to pull this trash up from the banks of the Susquehanna River as part of a larger Great American Cleanup of PA event.
Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) reports that a number of river cleanups conducted on or near April 26 were very successful in terms of trash removed from the river banks. EMHR North Branch Greenway Coordinator David Buck, who maintained contact and provided guidance to numerous groups working along segments of the shoreline from Sayre to Danville, has received positive feedback from all team leaders since the event.
“I think it went well,” said Buck, who worked with a smaller group in the Sugar Run area that still managed to retrieve at least 15 tires, two refrigerators, a large half-full propane tank, partially-filled gas cans, a camper trailer, and bags full of muddy styrofoam and glass.
“We picked up some hazardous materials,” Buck related, who added that, for every truckload of garbage that is taken away from the river, “there’s still a lot more down in there.”
Art Coolbaugh had a few more people in the Falls area to assist with a cleanup of several boat launches and easily accessible portions of the river bank. With the help of local Lions Club members and some Cub Scouts, his team also cleaned a five-mile stretch of Route 92.
Groups that worked in both Sayre and Wilkes-Barre drew larger numbers of volunteers and amassed huge piles of garbage to be hauled to participating landfills from their respective towns.
“What an awesome day. I was glad to be part of it,” Shawn Evans of PA Kayak Anglers related to Buck in an email after the event. Evans worked with a team comprised of volunteers from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Luzerne Conservation District. “If you need any more help…please do not be afraid to look me up,” Evans offered.
In Sayre, a team of more than a dozen people was coordinated by Tony Ligouri from the Bradford County Conservation District and Katie Replogle of the Diahoga Trail group. Volunteers from the Carantouan Greenway and some other individuals joined the team in their cleanup effort there.
Buck is among other team leaders who would like to see landowners with riverfront properties take more responsibility for the trash that ends up on their land and to see an increase in fines for littering and illegal dumping.
“The comment that I’m hearing from everyone is that the trash shouldn’t be there,” he remarked. In the meantime, the cleanups will continue as Buck and environmental leaders like him do their part to preserve and promote recreation along the North Branch Susquehanna River.
Cleanup crew members have every reason to be proud of a job well-done. Any segment of the river that is scoured of trash can be better enjoyed by hikers and anglers, whether or not they are aware of the effort.
“I really commend the folks who have been doing this now for several years,” said Buck. “I just wish more people would join in.”
Bradford County Conservation District ag team leader Tony Ligouri (back, center) worked with representatives from the Carantouan Greenway and the Diahoga Trail Group to pul together a river cleanup team in the Sayre area.
At Wilkes-Barre, teams of volunteers representing the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Luzerne Conservation District, PA Kayak Anglers and other groups fan out in the woods of Nesbitt Park to cleanup trash along the Susquehanna River on April 26.