River Sweep set for next Saturday

Published 10:20 am Thursday, June 11, 2009

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — It’s been a busy two months for Cabell Midland High sophomore Braxton Crisp.

That’s how long the Boy Scout has been working the phones and email to get out the volunteers for next Saturday’s River Sweep.

That’s because the Huntington leg of last year’s sweep didn’t attract many volunteers, a lot because the annual event lost its local coordinator.

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“We decided since we participate in this for a service project, we might be the coordinators,” said Crisp, vice chief of services for the Order of the Arrow BSA.

Among those who will be down at Harris Riverfront Park to clean up the trash along the banks along the Ohio are a fellow Boy Scout Troup at Putnam County and a couple teams of volunteers from the American Water Association.

Crisp is expected to pull in about 30 volunteers for the Huntington leg of the event.

“The river is the center of commerce for Huntington. We might as well keep the water clean for people,” he said.

The River Sweep started out in 1989 as a pilot project cleaning up the section of Ohio from Cincinnati to Ashland, Ky.

That year 1,000 volunteers joined the effort that got heavy support from Ashland Inc.

In 2008 that figure jumped to 21,000 volunteers for a six-state effort going from above Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill.

That covers more than 3,000 miles of shoreline whose only goal is to clear the litter along the Ohio.

With the improvement of the water quality of the river, ORSANCO officials couldn’t understand why the Ohio continued to have such a bad reputation.

“People had such a horrible image of the river,” Jeanne Ison of ORSANCO said.

Then after taking a boat ride down the river, officials discovered a shore land littered with garbage.

That inspired the current clean-up.

The River Sweep will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and volunteers can donate any amount of time they wish. They can meet before 10 at the Harris Riverfront Park.

For more information call (800) 359-3977.