Volunteers who don’t mind getting their hands dirty will have a unique opportunity to clean typically inaccessible banks of the Allegheny River between Aspinwall and Verona during an event on July 23.
Volunteers will likely be pulling hubcaps, tires, pop bottles and other junk from the water and land during the nearly four-hour excursion.
The Rachel Carson pontoon boat departs from Allegheny RiverTrail Park in Aspinwall and returns at about 12:30 p.m.
It will carry people upriver, stopping at points along the banks in Fox Chapel, O’Hara, Blawnox, Verona and Penn Hills to give workers a chance to rid trash and prevent it from entering the waterway.
“It’s our responsibility to take care of the places that we use recreationally,” said Sarah Carr, 3ROC events and marketing coordinator. “We need to practice ‘Leave No Trace’ principles and do what we can to leave it better than we found it.”
Volunteers will be targeting riverbank areas that would otherwise be inaccessible for litter removal, she said.
The cleanup expects to target about three miles of land and water until the boat turns around at the mouth of Sandy Creek, Allegheny CleanWays crew member Hannah Hohman said.
CleanWays Executive Director Myrna Newman said a previous cleanup in May resulted in an eye-opening amount of trash being hauled away from the shores.
Workers collected a mound of trash that included 40 pounds of metal, 250 pounds of plastic, 10 tires and 150 pounds of other loose debris.
Carr said the May cleanup concentrated mostly on the Aspinwall riverfront.
“This time we are planning to head a little farther up river to pick up where we left off,” she said.
Anyone interested in venturing out can meet at the dock in Aspinwall.
Coordinators suggest wearing comfortable/old clothes that will potentially getting muddy or wet. Volunteers are required to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Long-sleeved shirts are recommended to avoid scratches, sunburn or poison ivy.
“We also suggest bringing a change of clothes in case you have a bit too much fun pulling a muddy tire,” Carr said.
Volunteers will be provided gloves, life jackets, safety glasses and tools.
The event coincides with Pittsburgh’s inaugural PaddleFest during which there will be group paddles, safety information sessions, a lock-through course and a film festival, all happening on the Three Rivers Water Trail.