Volunteers to Make Alle-Kiski Valley Riverfront Beautiful

Valley News Dispatch
13 June 2011
By Chuck Biedka

The Ohio River watershed will get another cleanup if River Sweep gets the volunteers it needs Saturday.

The plan is to clean up miles of riverfront along the Allegheny and Kiski rivers and other Ohio River tributaries in six states.

Several cleanup sites are in Allegheny, Armstrong, and Westmoreland counties.

Most volunteers will work between 8 a.m. and noon.

Pat Walters of the community group Natrona Comes Together said 50 volunteers beautified the Allegheny River bank near Lock 4 in Natrona section of Harrison last year and the location will get attention this year, too.

"People should come to Veterans' Way on the 18th and register at the pavilion," she said.

"If they can, they should bring brushes and cutters. We will have gloves and vests and water for them and probably a light lunch if it doesn't rain."

The volunteers will clean the river bank or paint along Veterans Way.

"We can use people of any age. Some will hand out drinks or paint the benches red, white and blue," Walters said.

The Natrona volunteers will work from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lower Burrell volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. along the 100 block of Braeburn Road at 8 a.m. near the dam and Alloy Steel.

Another team of volunteers will start at a site along Route 66 near the Armstrong County side of the Apollo Bridge and spend from 8 a.m. to noon next Saturday as well as the Friday before cleaning along the Kiski River, said John Linkes of Garvers Ferry Road, Parks.

The group will register at The Rivers Edge Canoe and Kayak along Route 66 near Leechburg.

"We ask volunteers to wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes. We'll provide gloves and drinking water," Linkes said.

The canoe and kayak company will donate boats to help volunteers clean the banks from the river.

"Last year, we had 10. We've gotten a lot more interest this year," said Evelyn Andritz, co-owner of the company.

"We will meet here and then shuttle up to Vandergrift and get into the water and float down from there," she said.

Different sections of riverbank will be cleaned there Friday and Saturday.

The annual event will also be held in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Illinois.

"This is our 21st year. Can you believe it?" asked Pennsylvania state coordinator Betsy Mallison of Pittsburgh.

The cleanup has eight main sponsors including Duquesne Light, Dominion Foundation and the PPG Industries Foundation.

Last year, about 600 Pennsylvania volunteers removed about 45 tons of trash from 23 sites along the Ohio River as well as the Allegheny River and other tributaries. "We need volunteers," and they make a difference, Mallison said.

"We find enough stuff to outfit an entire house during the sweep on the Saturday before Father's Day," said Mallison.

"This year our theme is 'Help Dad pick up.' This is a family friendly event and we are encouraging families to spend a couple hours with Dad in community service," she said.

Volunteers will get free T-shirts.

Volunteer opportunities

Volunteers are needed Saturday to "Help Dad Take Out the Trash," the 21st River Sweep that cleans up litter along rivers, creeks and streams in the Ohio River Watershed. Alle-Kiski Valley sites include:

• Braeburn section of Lower Burrell along Braeburn Road near the dam

• Natrona section of Harrison, along Veterans' Way at Len's Auto Body.

• Route 66 near the Apollo Bridge on the Armstrong County side. Park near the trail.

• Crooked Creek at the Rosston Boat Launch off Ross Avenue in Manor Township

• Cowanshannock Creek Boat Launch, off McMillen Road

Chuck Biedka can be reached at cbiedka@tribweb.com or 724-226-4711.