Residents hope to start CleanWays chapter

October 08, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Pennsylvania's Adopt-A-Highway volunteers do a good job of keeping the state's public roadways free of trash, but not enough is being done to clean up the mess left by careless users of the Keystone State's 22 state forests, a Mont Alto man said Monday.

George Finney, 66, his son, Curtis, and Terrie Hamilton, a Chambersburg, Pa., mom, are trying to organize a Franklin County chapter of PA CleanWays.

PA CleanWays volunteers pick up trash along the gravel roads in the state forests. The nonprofit group also fights illegal dumping and littering, works with municipality and township officials in establishing recycling programs and provides educational and beautification projects.


PA CleanWays was organized in Greensburg in western Pennsylvania in 1989. It has sent volunteers to Michaux State Forest to pick up trash there, said Mike Kusko, Michaux's chief forester. Kusko supports the effort to organize a local chapter. He said PA CleanWays volunteers have picked up tons of trash from the forest this summer.

The organization had a $7 million budget to spend over the last seven years but the program is ending. He didn't know if the State Legislature would renew the funding. "We'd like to see a local chapter keep it going," he said.

An organizational meeting will be held Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Franklin County Administrative Annex Building, 218 N. Second St., Chambersburg.

Representatives of PA CleanWays will be on hand, George Finney said.

The Adopt-A-Highway program is funded by PennDOT. PA CleanWays is strictly volunteer, he said.

Finney said he hopes that at least 15 residents will sign up to form the nucleus for a Franklin County chapter following Wednesday's meeting.

Curtis Finney, a member of the Mountain Bikers of Michaux State Forest, said the 60-member organization would form a volunteer pool for the new PA CleanWays chapter.

Curtis Finney said efforts to form a local chapter about two years ago were unsuccessful. "There was a lack of public interest at the time," he said. "It takes the right kind of people who are willing to step up and put forth the effort."

Members of area civic and other organizations and groups would be recruited, George Finney said.

Hamilton said her family spends a couple of days a week cleaning up trash in Michaux State Forest. "It's a family event for us. One time we filled 82 garbage bags with stuff. It gets in your blood."

The volunteers said they find household trash, bottles and cans, old appliances and furniture and old tires, George Finney said. "One day we picked up 352 tires in the forest," he said.

The three walked to a spot in the forest about 600 yards from Pa. 233 north of Mont Alto Monday to show a trash-littered site.

There was a large fire ring surrounded by logs for seating.

All around were broken beer bottles and trash. There was even a rusty old burn barrel that people apparently use to burn some of their trash.

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