Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway's 12th annual River Sweep, a volunteer shoreline and roadside clean-up in honor of Earth Day, will take place in Havre de Grace, Perryville, Port Deposit and on Garrett Island on Saturday, April 21.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the clean-up taking place from 9 a.m. to noon, rain or shine.
Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. in one of five locations for registration: Tydings Park, Havre de Grace; Community Park, Perryville; Boat Launch (River Road), Perryville; Marina Park, Port Deposit; and Octoraro Creek, Port Deposit.
Volunteers interested in working on Garrett Island should meet at the Perryville Boat Launch during registration time. These volunteers need to bring their own boats or kayaks for transportation to/from Garrett Island and also be willing to collect and/or haul trash and debris.
After registering, volunteers will then fan out to spend the morning removing trash and other debris from the Upper Bay Region, including the Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna River and tributaries that feed into the Susquehanna River.
With an early spring this year, underbrush may grow more quickly and cover over trash and debris sooner than usual. Those interested in participating in River Sweep can be involved in several ways before and after April 21.
First, volunteers can begin removing trash and debris they see on roadways and shorelines in their neighborhoods in advance of River Sweep, in addition to participating in the community effort on April 21.
Second, if participants prefer to remain closer to their neighborhoods on April 21, volunteers are encouraged to clean up their closest tributary or body of water. If registered in advance, a volunteer team captain for the area would collect supplies during registration and bring them to the areas where volunteers will collect trash and debris.
Last year, during a heavy rain, nearly 700 volunteers donated their time during River Sweep. Volunteers, including individuals, families and youth groups, removed 14 tons of trash. Among the items found in 2011 were tires, propane tanks, glass, toys and textiles. Over the past 11 years, River Sweep volunteers have removed 64 tons of trash from area roads and waterways.
Sponsors of the 2012 River Sweep include Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and Exelon Power.
"The Upper Bay has been a treasured landscape with national significance since before the founding of our country," said Mary Ann Lisanti, executive director of Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway. "River Sweep volunteers play a key role in keeping our waterways and shorelines healthy and vibrant for visitors and residents alike. Maintaining scenic views and healthy waterways is important for a high quality of life and environmental stewardship in addition to promoting the growth of local economies located on the Upper Bay."
Volunteers, including those interested in being a team captain for a particular area, can sign up in advance by visiting http://www.hitourtrails.com or calling 410-457-2482. River Sweep participants are encouraged to wear old clothes and to bring work gloves. Volunteers who sign up in advance will receive a T-shirt and lunch.
Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to stimulate local economic activity by developing a linkage to natural, historic and cultural resources through land and water recreational trails. To date, 22 miles of continuous public recreation trails connecting Harford and Cecil counties have been constructed. The organization's goal is 40 miles of trails. The trail system has been designated as part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun