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River clean-up becoming an annual rite of spring


GREENVILLE — Ten volunteers scoured the road, woods and riverbanks of a portion of Route 31 straddling the Greenville and Wilton town line Tuesday morning picking up trash along the Souhegan River.

They then drove to Horseshoe Falls in Wilton and collected discarded soda and beer bottles.

Since 2000, the Souhegan Watershed Association (SWA) plans its clean-up day in June, which is Rivers Month. Also helping was the Merrimack Valley Paddlers (MVP) and together they covered a few miles stretch along the scenic highway.

Frank Daminano from Hampstead has been volunteering for the past 10 years with MVP and said, “We do this because we use the river for paddling every year so we figure we want to contribute something to the community, so we clean-up the street once a year.”

Former MVP member Stanley Hicks of Kingston didn’t find as many beer cans as in past years but picked up a lot of McDonalds and fast food trash and wishfully said, “I still looking for that $20 bill.”

“I’m doing all this as penance for when I was a teenager tossing cigarette butts or empty cans out the window so now I have to pick them up,” said George May, president of the Souhegan Watershed Association and member of the MVP and American Rivers. He has volunteered for over 20 years.

Whitewater kayaker Julie Smith helped organize the clean-up. The Nashua resident was the former president of SWA and said, “This is one of my favorite rivers. I see trash on this river and road and in the put-ins and take-outs and path ways and I just don’t like looking at trash. I like to keep our rivers beautiful and clean. It’s good karma.”

This is her 10th year volunteering and has the day off from Comcast, which allows a “free day” for non-profit work.

Her most interesting items collected Tuesday was one flip-flop and a basketball.

Kayakers in general don’t leave trash around. They show up when the rivers start running in the spring time and they pick up stuff,” May said.Trash bags lined the highway and were picked up before noon, filling a trailer with trash that should have been in the dump a long time ago.

The American Rivers provided trash bags.

For more information visit: souheganriver.org, americanrivers.org and mvpclub.org.

khumphreys@newstote.com

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