Volunteers sought to clean up the banks of the Allegheny River from Verona to Aspinwall

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Volunteers who don’t mind getting their hands dirty will have a unique opportunity to clean up the usually inaccessible banks of the Allegheny River between Aspinwall and Verona at an event on July 23.

Organized by Allegheny CleanWays, Friends of the Riverfront and 3 Rivers Outdoor Company (3ROC), the shoreline cleanup is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

Volunteers will likely pull hubcaps, tires, pop bottles and other trash 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 around 12:30 p.m.

It will ferry people upriver, stopping at points along the banks at Fox Chapel, O’Hara, Blawnox, Verona and Penn Hills to give workers a chance to clear trash and keep it out of the way navigable.

“It is our responsibility to take care of the places we use for recreational purposes,” said Sarah Carr, 3ROC Events and Marketing Coordinator. “We have to apply the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles and do what we can to leave it better than we found it.”

Volunteers will target shoreline areas that would otherwise be inaccessible for litter removal, she said.

The cleanup should target about three miles of land and water until the boat turns around at the mouth of Sandy Creek, said Allegheny CleanWays crew member Hannah Hohman.

CleanWays executive director Myrna Newman said a previous cleanup in May resulted in a telling amount of litter being transported away from shore.

Workers picked up 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 cleanup in May focused mainly on the Aspinwall Riverside.

“This time we plan to go up the river a bit more to pick up where we left off,” she said.

Anyone interested in venturing out can meet at Aspinwall Quay.

Coordinators suggest wearing comfortable/old clothes that could get muddy or wet. Volunteers are required to wear long pants and closed 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 little too much fun pulling a muddy tire,” Carr said.

Volunteers will be provided with gloves, life jackets, safety glasses and tools.

The event coincides with Pittsburgh’s inaugural PaddleFest during which there will be group paddles, safety briefings, a locked course and a film festival, all taking place on the Three Rivers Water Trail.

Tawnya Panizzi is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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