On May 8, 2024

Volunteers green up two rivers

By Curt Peterson—Jordan Dennis tosses plastic bale wraps into the dumpster.

By Curt Peterson

Hundreds of volunteers in small towns along the Route 4 corridor filled biodegradable bags with roadside litter Saturday, May 4, during Vermont’s Green Up Day.

Fourteen intrepid outdoors folk waded, dug and dragged a full dumptruck full and three full pickups worth of “river litter” from the White and Ottauquechee Rivers. This particular clean-up group was organized by Upper Valley Trout Unlimited, led by Conservation Chairman Marty Banak, and Woodstock Inn and Resort Fly Fishing Shop, organized by shop guide Owen Ward.

“Our group cleaned up the White from the West Hartford bridge to the dam in Sharon,” Marty Banak told the Mountain Times. “I scouted both rivers during the week to identify areas that were particularly in need.”

The Woodstock Inn volunteers are members of the resort’s “Green Team,” which is dedicated to improving and maintaining the area’s environment. They policed the area from East End Park through the Billings Farm property bordering the Ottauquechee.

Unlike the back roads of Hartland, the rivers attract some significant debris. Banak said the White River salvage included 11 tires, a 120-gallon propane tank, a hot water heater, a 55-gallon drum and some shipping skids.

“One issue is plastic bale wrap,” Banak said. “The round bales stored near riverbanks get washed into the river, the rocks tear the wrap off, and it ends up tangled in trees.”

He said one large wrap strip was 30 feet above the normal water level, probably ending up there during floods.

Detritus was taken to the Quechee Green, where green-up managers accepted everything but the tires, which had to be taken to Hartford Town Hall.

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