Volunteers clean up nasty dump site

By TED WADDELL
Posted 5/3/22

FREMONT, NY — On April 28, a small group of environmentally concerned folks gathered along Basket Creek to clean up an old illegal dumpsite along the banks of the pristine waters, a noted …

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Volunteers clean up nasty dump site

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FREMONT, NY — On April 28, a small group of environmentally concerned folks gathered along Basket Creek to clean up an old illegal dumpsite along the banks of the pristine waters, a noted cold-water habitat for native trout.

Over the years, people have been dumping trash and construction debris over the bank instead of disposing of the unwanted items in a responsible fashion. Not only were they despoiling the natural beauty of the area, but the dump added microplastics to the food chain.

The litterpluck project was part of the Upper Delaware Council’s (UDC) second annual litter sweep, an initiative that encouraged people on both sides of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River to band together in an effort to clean up trash and dumpsites in the watershed region.

The sweep was conducted April 22 to 30, and involved all 15 New York State towns and Pennsylvania townships bordering the Upper Delaware River.

The UDC was created in 1988 as “a formal partnership of local, state, and federal governments and agencies which have joined together to manage the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, a true natural resource.”

Rolling up their sleeves to clean up the old dumpsite were Laurie Ramie, UDC executive director; Ashley Hall-Bagdonas, UDC secretary; and several local residents, including Kate Sykes Bowers, Dan Bowers, Jim Rodgers, Jim Hay and Bill Kenny.

“During the pandemic, I was doing a lot of walking, noticed this really pretty spot, looked over the bank and saw all the garbage,” recalled Kate Bowers, who said this was the motivation for calling the UDC to add this location to the list of unsightly sites to be cleaned up.

Her take on illegal dumpers polluting the area?

“I don’t respect them, that’s for sure. I just wish they would take advantage of the town cleanups every year… and get rid of the things they don’t want, like doors off an old refrigerator and an old pool liner. It’s a shame. Hopefully, we can make a difference.”

Rodgers, a former sports editor with the River Reporter, struck a classic American Gothic pose with his trusty garden rake. A long-time resident who has lived along Basket Creek since 1975, he described the old dumpsite as “It’s horrible.”

Laurie Ramie, executive director of the UDC, pitched in to join the crew that was getting its hands dirty unearthing the dump. “We’re trying to fulfill a need in the river valley. People were willing to volunteer to make sure garbage doesn’t make its way into the waterway, microplastics being such an issue, the degradation of our precious natural resources.”

Ramie said the UDC-sponsored litter sweep is rapidly gaining traction, as last year approximately 200 volunteers signed up, while this year, the group ordered 400 commemorative T-shirts as a way of thanking the participants.

For additional information about the litter sweep project, email the UDC at info@upperdelawarecouncil.org or call 845/252-3022.

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