Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s 23rd River Sweep Takes Place April 22

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Jane Machin, Donna Nichols and Debbie McKeown, members of the Harbor of Grace Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, collect trash and debris on Revolution Street in Havre de Grace during River Sweep in 2022. Last year more than 225 volunteers collected over 10 tons of trash in Harford and Cecil counties during the annual event in honor of Earth Day. (Photo Courtesy of Jane Machin)

Shoreline cleanup includes the Upper Bay, Susquehanna and North East rivers

Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s 23rd annual River Sweep, a volunteer shoreline cleanup in celebration of Earth Day, will take place rain or shine Saturday, April 22, in Havre de Grace, Conowingo, Perryville, Port Deposit, Charlestown and on Garrett Island.

Since the founding of River Sweep in 2000, volunteers have collected more than 125 tons of trash and debris. Volunteers have included individuals, families, youth groups, students, environmental clubs, green teams, Scouts, baseball teams, kayakers, boaters, fishing clubs, alumni organizations and area businesses.

Check-in at meeting locations begins at 8:30 a.m., and River Sweep will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. To sign up as a volunteer, visit Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s website at www.UpperBayTrails.com. Volunteers who sign up in advance will receive lunch. Registration continues online through April 18.

Following is a listing of meeting locations:

Cecil County: Marina Park, 190 South Main Street, Port Deposit; Conowingo Community Park at Octoraro Creek, 1720 Susquehanna River Road, Conowingo; Conowingo Creek Boat Launch, 2 Mt. Zoar Road (Mt. Zoar Road and the water), Conowingo; Perryville Boat Launch/Garrett Island, 501 Roundhouse Drive, Perryville; Perryville Community Park, Marion Tapp Parkway, Perryville; Rodgers Tavern Museum, 259 Broad Street, Perryville; and Foot Log Park, intersection of Bladen and Conestoga streets, Charlestown.

Harford County:  Tydings Park, gazebo at Commerce Street, Havre de Grace; Susquehanna State Park, Deer Creek trestle bridge parking lot, Stafford Road, Havre de Grace; and Swan Harbor Farm, 401 Oakington Road, Havre de Grace.

River Sweep participants will fan out to spend the morning removing trash and other debris from the Upper Bay region, including the Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna and North East rivers and their tributaries.

Those interested in volunteering on Garrett Island should bring their kayaks and canoes and meet at the Boat Launch in Perryville. Boaters are also welcome.

River Sweep volunteers are encouraged to wear old clothes (long sleeves and pants are recommended; shoes may get wet) and to bring work gloves.

In 2022, more than 225 volunteers removed over 10 tons of trash and debris. Notable items found and removed included a full propane tank, oven door, boat drive shaft, boat cushions, 10-foot pole, large blocks of Styrofoam, traffic cone, bulk liquid storage container, vintage Coca Cola bottle and a wallet with several British pound notes and an Air Force ID (it was given to the police).

“We are so grateful to the volunteers who donate their time and talents to help us clean up our area roadways and shoreline during River Sweep. They have prevented trash and debris from entering into our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, making our community a better place to live,”  said Brigitte Carty, executive director of Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway. “We thank our volunteers, sponsors and community partners for helping us to protect the natural environment for enjoyment now and by future generations.”

Sponsors of the 2023 River Sweep include Constellation, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Keep Maryland Beautiful, Maryland Environmental Trust, Forever Maryland, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Maryland Department of Transportation. Community partners include Cecil County, Charlestown, Harford County, Havre de Grace, Perryville, Port Deposit and Susquehanna State Park.

In addition, partial financial assistance has been provided for this project through the Cecil County VLT Local Community Grant Program, sponsored by the Cecil County Executive. This project also has been financed in part with state funds from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

For more information or to ask questions, email info@upperbaytrails.com or call 410-457-2482.

Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway is a nonprofit, certified Maryland Heritage Area located in Harford and Cecil counties along the Lower Susquehanna River and Upper Bay. Its mission is to encourage regional economic development through heritage tourism primarily by supporting public recreation efforts, particularly trail development and public water access, historic preservation, cultural interpretation and conservation efforts. For more information about Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, visit www.UpperBayTrails.com.

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