Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s 24th  River Sweep Takes Place April 20

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River Sweep volunteers Alonna Kunkel and Brandon Webb, participating with the Conowingo Elementary School’s Environmental Club and Green Team, retrieve a tire from the shoreline at Perryville Community Park during the 2023 cleanup. (Photo Courtesy of Holly Kunkel)
River Sweep volunteers Alonna Kunkel and Brandon Webb, participating with the Conowingo Elementary School’s Environmental Club and Green Team, retrieve a tire from the shoreline at Perryville Community Park during the 2023 cleanup. (Photo Courtesy of Holly Kunkel)

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

Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s 24th annual River Sweep, a volunteer shoreline cleanup in celebration of Earth Day, will take place rain or shine Saturday, April 20, 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 127 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 16.

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; Foot Log Park, 241 Market Street, Charlestown; and Playground, Cool Springs Road and Pagosa Street, Charlestown.

Harford County:  Tydings Park, park pavilion 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 and their own water bottles.

In 2023, more than 240 volunteers removed over two tons of trash and debris. Notable items found and removed include shoes, clothing, metal buckets, tires, wooden pallet, plastic bottles, skateboard, tire inner tube, Styrofoam, beer cans, plastic toy, yard sign, garden fencing and a metal trash can. A giant log was found at Long Point, and it was hauled away by a tractor.

“River Sweep serves as a catalyst for year-round environmental stewardship. As our collected debris totals show, even one day a year can make a significant, immediate impact on our environment,” said Brigitte Carty, executive director of Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway. “Many of our site coordinators and volunteers have been with us for a decade or more, and we are truly grateful for all they do.”

Sponsors of  2024 River Sweep include Constellation, Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Chesapeake Bay Trust and Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. 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 [email protected] 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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