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a pile of trash found during the river clean up

River and Banks Cleaned Through UDC Grants

RIVER CLEAN-UP: Members, parents, and leaders from the Calkins Ag 4-H group cleared trash July 23 from a section of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River between Callicoon, PA and Skinners Falls, NY on behalf of Damascus Township, which received a grant from the Upper Delaware Council’s 2017 River & Shoreline Clean-up Program.

NARROWSBURG – The last of four activities conducted under the Upper Delaware Council’s (UDC) 2017 River & Shoreline Clean-up Grants Program took place on Aug. 19 as 27 youth from Damascus United Methodist Charge’s annual Helping Hearts and Hands Youth Mission Camp removed five 50-gallon bags’ worth of garbage from the Skinners Falls public river access area.

Hailing from New Milford, Clarks Summit, Scranton, and Hershey, PA, the youth mission team with eight adult chaperones received an orientation about environmental stewardship and river safety from National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Ranger Susanna Kaspar before embarking on their thorough clean-up on land, in the river, and on the boulder field near the rapids.

“Litter included the expected beverage containers, paper, broken beer bottles, t-shirts, and cigarette butts. We brought back a section of steel grate, and one item that was deemed a biohazard and required special bagging,” reports Damascus United Methodist Charge Pastor Jeffrey Warren.

“People asked what the youth were doing, which was an excellent chance to share with them the importance of environmental stewardship. It was also disheartening to see a few people throw trash into the river at the same time we were picking it up. The kids swam out and retrieved what they could. We are confident that valuable lessons were learned that will influence these young people for a lifetime,” he added.

Damascus Township also shared its UDC grant proceeds with the Calkins Ag 4-H club. Its crew of 21 members, parents, and 4-H leaders started at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s river access in Callicoon, PA and worked their way downriver toward Skinners Falls on July 23.

They removed two tires and one window frame along with numerous bags of general trash. Damascus Township provided garbage bags, gloves, transportation, and arranged for disposal of the trash.

“We all enjoy this opportunity to not only help our natural resource, but help keep our community clean and safe for everyone to enjoy for many years to come,” said Calkins Ag 4-H Leader Jen Noble. “We also enjoy the river and our time together as a club.”

The UDC awarded a total of $3,975 on May 4, 2017 based on applications submitted by four of the UDC’s member municipalities, as follows: Town of Deerpark, NY – $1,250; Town of Highland, NY – $1,200; Town of Lumberland, NY – $775; and Damascus Township, PA – $750. It was the fourth year for the program.

The Town of Deerpark focused on cleaning the shoreline along the New York State Route 97 Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Hawk’s Nest vicinity.

Three members of the Town Highway Department – Jeffrey Wehinger, Matthew Crown, and Timothy Crown – spent two full days on June 7 and 8 collecting more than 30 bags of garbage, which they hauled to the Port Jervis Transfer Station for proper disposal.

The Town of Highland contracted with J.P. Lang as of May 15 to regularly clean up refuse along the Delaware River and at the Eagle Observatory access along New York State Route 97 in the town’s limits by foot patrol and canoe. Trash and recyclables were taken to the Highland Transfer Station.

The Town of Lumberland contracted with Ann Steimle to conduct its river and shoreline clean-up patrols within the town boundaries starting May 15.

For more information on the UDC, visit or call the non-profit, bi-state organization’s Narrowsburg, NY office at (845) 252-3022.


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