Cleanup planned along Potomac River

April 03, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - Volunteers will remove old tires, the remnants of a camping trailer and other debris during a cleanup Saturday along the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, a park official said Wednesday.

This Saturday is the ninth year for the annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup. West Virginia will be participating for the first time, said David Fox, volunteer coordinator for the historical park.

Last year, about 2,000 people volunteered at various sites along the Potomac River and hauled away more than 137 tons of trash.


Fox said he does not know how many people will join him at Harpers Ferry on Saturday morning to participate.

He said he has talked to service clubs and hiking and canoeing groups to ask for their assistance.

"I'm not sure if we're going to have five people or 50," he said.

Gloves and garbage bags will be provided to the volunteers, Fox said.

"All they need to do is wear sturdy shoes and be ready to get a little damp or dirty," Fox said.

Those who plan to volunteer should meet at 9 a.m. at the park's main entrance off U.S. 340, Fox said.

The volunteers will work until noon on Saturday, rain or shine, Fox said. By then he hopes to have cleaned up about half a mile of shoreline from the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers to an old electric plant upstream.

The volunteers will receive a pin in recognition for their service, he said.

The cleanup not only makes the area more attractive, it helps clean pollutants out of the river which would eventually enter the Chesapeake Bay, Fox said.

"There's a saying used by those around the Chesapeake Bay, `We all live downstream,'" Fox said.

There's an exceptional amount of debris on the Potomac shore this spring, he said. The two major floods in 1996 tossed up trash from the river bottom and left it high on the shoreline, he said.

"It flushed out the basin and left the debris high and dry," Fox said.

Fox said he's seen a section of an old camping trailer, several docks, parts of cars, and Styrofoam coolers on the river bank.

"Anything that can be thrown away and some things that shouldn't be can be found there," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles