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‘Enthusiasm’ helps fuel annual river clean up

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry The Allegheny River Clean-up ground crew puts items that were pulled out of the river Friday into a trailer at the Starbrick boat launch. Leaving against the trailer is a picnic table cover reportedly from the Nichols and Dimes store in Warren.

There were some changes with the annual Allegheny River Cleanup this year.

But, as always, volunteers paddled their ways along Warren County’s waters, gathering garbage.

“The enthusiasm is as great as ever,” one of the event’s coordinators, David Snyder, said. “The enthusiasm here is huge. You have filthy people out there with shovels, pickaxes, and machetes.”

The event was smaller than normal to accommodate social distancing and outdoor gathering guidelines.

“I sent email to many of the people that have volunteered regularly in the past,” Snyder said. “We didn’t want to have so many people that we couldn’t socially distance.”

There were 10 to 12 canoes on the river on Friday. On a normal clean-up day in a normal clean-up year, there might be 20 to 25. On weekends, the number could be even higher.

There was also a good support team. Those in canoes can drop off their haul every so often. The ground crew puts that in trailers and moves to the next stop. “We brought together a good support team,” Snyder said.

The river clean-up usually involves a day on Conewango Creek — Friday was supposed to be that day.

“We couldn’t do the Conewango because of the water level,” Snyder said. “We changed everything yesterday.”

Despite the late notice, all of the volunteers who had signed up to work the creek helped out on the river. They spent the day on the north shore of the river from Allegheny Outfitters in Warren to Buckaloons in Irvine and will hit the south shore of the same stretch on Saturday.

Among the notable finds of the day were about 1.2 round covers – one of them a complete circle, the other just a shard – that were reportedly from picnic tables at the Nichols and Dimes store in Warren.

There was also an electric motor estimated at a weight of 344 pounds and a small section of heavy pipe estimated at 67 pounds.

Usually, the organizers hold an ‘after party’ to thank the volunteers. This year, the River Riot is not going to happen. But, there will be a smaller event. The organizers like to show their appreciation.

“Northwest helped sponsor the event and the volunteers have been great,” Snyder said.

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