Friends of North Fork plan river clean-up day

By Josette Keelor

Area residents plan to make a clean start to spring this Saturday by helping pick up trash along the Shenandoah River.

In its second of four cleanup events this year, the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River will begin at 9 a.m. at 122 Commerce St., Woodstock, with a brief introduction on safety before heading out to various locations along the river.

Led by event organizer Jack Chapman of Edinburg, volunteers will prepare area waterways for the season by removing items like bottles, cans, tires and fishing line.

Chapman said the annual spring and fall pickup days help maintain a clean river environment for community enjoyment. Now in his fifth year of participating, he said he believes they’re making progress.

“We’re seeing a little bit here, a little bit there, so it’s a lot better than it was,” he said.

Trash tends to accumulate in areas where water eddies, he said, such as at Lupton low water bridge, which he called “a tire magnet.”

One year, he remembered, “We collected well over 100 tires at this one location.”

“It’s not that people are dumping them there, it’s that they float down from various places,” he said. “That area there, it traps it.”

“The next year we got well over 30 tires. Tires are a big issue,” he continued. Chemicals from the tires leach into the river, he said, “and they can be damaging.”

Another problem is fishing line, which he said “can be detrimental to the birds and fish.”

In an attempt at keeping used fishing line out of the water, he said the Friends have coordinated with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to set up collection receptacles along the river. Locations include Catlett’s Landing, off Va. 626 upstream of Riverton and Chapman Landing by Narrow Passage Creek off U.S. 11 between Woodstock and Edinburg.

Volunteers who come Saturday are asked to bring drinking water and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, thick-soled shoes and leather or other sturdy work gloves. The session should end about 1 p.m.

For information or to register, email Chapman at chappyje@gmail.com or call 703-507-2226.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com