April 5 is the date for the American River Parkway Foundation’s Spring Cleanup, where volunteers will gather at nine locations along the river to pick up trash and debris.
“By continuing to care for our American River Parkway, we ensure it is a place for people to experience the natural environment in the heart of our community” said Jeff Leatherman, director of the Regional Parks Department. “The American River Parkway is a treasured feature in our county and this is a way to show pride and give back.”
The three-hour event takes place from 9 a.m. until noon along the river at any one of the nine sites. Volunteers pick up trash along the trails, in the bottom of the river and at different recreational sites along the entire parkway. You can register online to volunteer and request your preferred site for cleaning. The American River Parkway Foundation will provide all the materials needed to get the job done – just dress appropriately – long pants, hat, closed-toe shoes and sunscreen are suggested. This year, the cleanup will hold a contest for the most unique item recovered. The winner will get a free t-shirt, and free bragging rights for the year!
The 23-mile, 4,600 acre parkway can be littered with anything from old tires to plastic bags. In past years, rusted bikes, vending machines and old grocery carts were among the items unearthed. By removing trash and debris, pollutants are prevented from entering the watershed or harming wildlife as well as injuring park users. Last year the volunteers gathered 22,000 pounds of trash, which if put into standard 90 pound garbage cans, that’s enough trash to stack 13 miles high!
“Because water levels are lower this year than in the past, we can reach debris and trash we never could before, allowing us to cleanup the river thoroughly and get more trash,” said Dianna Poggetto, Executive Director of the American River Parkway Foundation. “This year we will have more locations open for cleaning and more opportunities for volunteers to really help us.”
The goal of the cleanup is rather obvious, to make the American River Parkway enjoyable for all. There is, however, an extra added benefit; this opportunity gives people the chance to give back to the river and parkway they enjoy so much. When someone has the opportunity to help in a cause, they can develop more appreciation for it. The Parkway is often referred to as “the jewel of Sacramento.” It is not until you spend time in the Parkway, cleaning it or enjoying it, that you really get a sense of what a gem it is, Poggetto said.
Register as a cleanup volunteer or call the American River Parkway Foundation at 916-486-2773.
Writer: Kaitlin Bane, Communication and Media Intern