Volunteers turn out for river cleanup

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:16

Dingmans Ferry - The early morning fog was still rising off of the Delaware at the Dingmans Access when volunteers for the 17th annual Delaware River Cleanup Day arrived and began their complimentary breakfast. The National Park Service organized this year’s efforts for the first time, instead of its past organizer, Kittatinny Canoes. Ruth Jones, owner of Kittatinny Canoes, explained that her business is still recovering from this year’s flood. However, her company and eight others pitched in and donated the canoes, paddles, life jackets, and shuttle services. John Donahue, Superintendent of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, commented that this year’s cleanup was a combined effort between these companies, volunteers, and townships. He said that the National Park Service spearheaded this year’s cleanup because it was a great tradition and could not see it end. “It is my vision to have this cleanup going fifty years from now,” he added. With a few more words from Jones and Donahue, and a safety orientation, close to 90 volunteers at Dingmans took off to various places on the river. Simultaneously, over one hundred people began the cleanup at Smithfield Beach. All told, more than 200 people were said to have taken part. Buses took the eager volunteers, young and old alike, to their start points. Depending on the location, the volunteers embarked on a cleanup that would take them between four and ten miles downstream. The coordinated effort was successful. Laces and shoes were common catches of the day. A rubber ducky and a shampoo bottle were among the unique picks. Common household items, small and large, marked an eerie reminder of past floods. Tired bodies bringing in their flotsam-laden canoes waded through the water at the end of day and proceeded to throw bag after bag of debris into a pile - chairs, tires, a trick-or-treat pumpkin, more tires, and miscellaneous items. An accomplished feeling was evident on the shuttle back to Dingmans Access, with each person sharing his or her own anecdote of the day, even some with a feeling of regret that they could not fit more in their canoe.