Major strides made in the fight against Poconos litter

Milford. Hundreds of volunteers made the difference. They picked up a grand total of 7,770 bags of litter from roadsides in Pike, Wayne, Monroe, and Carbon counties during first full year of the Pick Up the Poconos campaign.

| 07 Jan 2020 | 05:45

In its first full year, Pick Up the Poconos says it has achieved remarkable results in curbing unsightly litter throughout the four counties -- Wayne, Pike, Monroe, and Carbon -- that make up the Pocono Mountains.

A grand total of 7,770 bags of litter was removed from roadsides in the Poconos in 2019, according to the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

“We’ve come from one of the worst to one of the best in the state,” said Senator Mario Scavello (R-40th District). “With the amount of traffic on our roads, we’ve done a phenomenal job at keeping the Poconos clean. It’s a testament to the PMVB and its partners. When people work together, good things happen.”

“This success could not have been achieved alone,” said Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau President and CEO Chris Barrett. “Our community partners were integral to making our region more beautiful and helping those less fortunate in the process.”

Pick Up the Poconos was launched last spring to raise awareness of the negative ways litter affects the region, including the destination’s curb appeal to the nearly 28 million visitors to the Poconos. The campaign has also enlisted volunteers and organizations to get involved in removing as much litter and debris as possible from local roadways and public spaces.

Pick Up the Poconos soon expanded to three more counties in the region to form an anti-litter coalition in Luzerne, Lehigh, and Northampton counties.

Then in June, the Pocono Mountains United Way, RHD’s Street 2 Feet Outreach Center and the Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority joined forces with the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau to create Pocono Community Caring Company (Pocono 3C).The program is designed to give individuals facing homelessness a job helping to clean litter from the roads while receiving counseling on their way to permanent housing and possible full-time employment. Twenty five men and women found permanent housing as a result of participating in Pocono 3C's second annual Pick Up the Poconos Day on Sept. 29.

“Pick Up the Poconos was a great success this year because we had so many volunteers contributing to the beautification of our township,” said Middle Smithfield Township Supervisor Mike Dwyer. “Pride in the Poconos was exemplified by the residents and business owners who donated just a few hours and made significant improvements.”

A natural wonderland

With 2,400 square miles, the Pocono Mountains region is home to rolling mountain terrain, breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls, thriving woodlands and 170 miles of winding rivers. Winters offer guests the opportunity to ski, snowboard, snowtube, and snowshoe their way through wonderlands encompassing more than 163 ski trails. Summer also caters to the active traveler, allowing exploration of 261 miles of hiking and biking trails, more than 30 golf courses, whitewater rafting, boating, fishing, and open access to nine state and two national parks.

Pocono Mountains visitor information is available online at or by phone at 570-421-5791. Follow @PoconoTourismPR on Twitter to stay up-to-date.

Established in 1934, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit membership organization. It is the official destination marketing organization for Wayne, Pike, Monroe, and Carbon counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“Since the inception of Pick Up the Poconos, there has been a major improvement on the roads,” added Monroe County Commissioner John Christy. “We are trying to put the best foot forward and create awareness that Monroe County is a wonderful place to live, work and play.”

By the numbers:
The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau shared the following Pick Up the Poconos results from 2019:
Pocono 3C (June-November):
58 men and women participated
3,472 bags collected
185 tires collected
162 miles cleaned
25 men and women found permanent housing as a result of participating
Pick Up the Poconos Day (Sept. 29):
371 volunteers
738 bags collected
60 miles cleaned across 8 municipalities in Monroe County
Adopt A Highway Maintenance Corp.:
3,560 bags collected weighing approximately 32,040 pounds
Cleaned medians, ramps and shoulders of Interstate 80 and Interstate 380
Grand total:
7,770 bags of litter collected