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April 19. 2013 4:00AM

Nashua's Mine Falls Park set for a serious spring cleaning

NASHUA - The city's largest park will receive serious attention this weekend as nature lovers converge for a massive spring cleaning effort.

The Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee has planned its first Trail Day event of the year, and dozens of volunteers are needed to help rid the park of any signs of the past winter.

Committee chairman Greg Andruskevich said it is important to remove trash and debris as soon as possible before citizens start walking the trails frequently. Saturday's spring cleanup will also focus on improving the Red Trail, referred to by some as the GI Jane Trail or Gorilla Trail because of the extensive tree roots that have made the path difficult to master, said Andruskevich.

"It is the toughest trail of the park, and we would like to try to ease the pain for the runners using it," he said.

Erosion bars will be installed along the path, he said, and the leveling of roots will also take place.

At 325-acres, Mine Falls Park off Exit 6 of Route 3 includes several fields, forest, wetlands, overlook areas and boat ramps. It is used for passive recreation such as biking, walking, boating and fishing, as well as organized sports.

But every spring there is some work to be done to keep the park at the end of Coliseum Avenue in tip-top shape, according to organizers.

In the past six years, about 6.5 tons of trash has been removed from the park, said Andruskevich.

He said most of that work is done by volunteers who have a vested interest in keeping the land beautiful.

"We are saving the city tons of money by doing this on a volunteer basis," he said, thanking the many people who participate in frequent Trail Days throughout the warmer months.

Cigarette butts, dog waste bags and beer cans are frequently found littered throughout the park, and Andruskevich says it is frustrating to continuously clean select trail areas that seem to attract the most garbage. He said an entire cooked turkey was left in the park the day after Thanksgiving.

Organizers are hoping for about 50 or more volunteers for Saturday's Trail Day cleanup. In addition to removing trash and graffiti, workers will be asked to clean up highway debris that accumulates in what is known as the triangle spot at Mine Falls Park.

Other projects include the reclamation of the Canal Trail by Second Street at the Seventh Street entrance, and a general cleaning of the Cove area to include the cleaning of birdhouses placed there, according to a release.

Six pedestrian bridge crossings will also be tackled, specifically the Lincoln Park footbridge that leads visitors into Mine Falls Park over the Nashua River.

This is the first in a series of Trail Days held monthly in the spring and summer and sponsored by the Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt, but should dress appropriately for yard work and wear boots or sneakers.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Trail Day volunteers should meet at the Lincoln Park entrance to Mine Falls, off Exit 6 behind Hannaford supermarket. The event will be held rain or shine.

"The more volunteers we get, the better off we will be," Andruskevich said.

khoughton@newstote.com

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