The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

March 27, 2013

Regional litter sweep needs volunteers

— Taking pride in their communities, numerous volunteers will team up in April for the third year of the regional Mountain Pride Litter Sweep.

The multi-county litter sweep, sponsored by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, will be held on April 27 in Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming counties.

According to Tristan Cleveland, an AmeriCorps VISTA in Fayette County with the NRGRDA, friends, neighbors, and co-workers can join together to collect litter on major thoroughfares and other key locations during the Mountain Pride event. Both individuals and groups are invited to participate.

“It’s a big job, cleaning up roadside litter in the whole county, but the residents of Fayette County have done an amazing job in the past,” Cleveland said. “There has been great turnout so far this year, but we are still looking for volunteers.”

Groups, businesses, organizations, churches, friends, and families are encouraged to put together a team.

All supplies for the cleanup will be provided by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

There will be a family-friendly litter sweep event on April 13 at Wolf Creek Park in Fayette County from 8 a.m. to noon. Participants can pick up litter, and then learn about local wildlife and plants from the vantage point of the newly expanded boardwalk. Bill Hilton Jr., consulting director of New River Birding and Nature Center, will point out some early spring wonders in the Wolf Creek wetlands. Visitors may even see the resident colony of beavers.

This event is free and sponsored by the New River Birding and Nature Center and the NRGRDA.  Participants should bring full water bottles, as well as binoculars and cameras if they have them.

This is the final Mountain Pride Litter Sweep before the Boy Scout National Jamboree is held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County. The Jamboree will be July 15 -24, and is expected to host 40,000 scouts on site, as well as draw thousands of visitors into the area.

“This is our last cleanup before tens of thousands of people visit our area, many of them in West Virginia for the first time. We hope it will be the biggest litter sweep yet,” says Cleveland.

Over the past three years, the NRGRDA and WV DEP have sponsored several road side litter pickups and focused community cleanups within the New River region. A recent publication by the NRGRDA announces that over 1,300 volunteers have removed 450 tons of trash and 18,500 tires. In Fayette County alone during the Spring 2012 Mountain Pride Litter Sweep, 339 volunteers picked up 9.46 tons of trash and collected 11,000 tires.

Adam Hodges, a West Virginia State University extension agent working in Fayette County, says the work of these volunteers is being noticed by visitors.

“At a recent meeting with an official from the Boy Scouts, they commented that they had been showing a great number of people around our area, and that their comments have been about how beautiful and clean our area is,” Hodges told litter sweep volunteers in an e-mail after their hard work was over.

Anyone who is unable to participate directly in the Mountain Pride litter sweep is encouraged to dedicate the day or weekend to outside cleaning and beautification either at home or their place of work, urges the NRGRDA website.

To volunteer for the Mountain Pride litter sweep or for more information about the Mountain Pride litter sweep at Wolf Creek Park, contact Tristan Cleveland at 304-465-3720 or by e-mailing tcleveland5013@gmail.com. More information about beautification can be found on the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority’s website www.nrgrda.org.

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