MOUNT VERNON — Two large, annual river cleanup events — the Mohican River & Wally Road Cleanup on Saturday, and the Kokosing River Rally 2019 set for Sept. 21 — allow hundreds of volunteers to keep two state scenic rivers wild, scenic and environmentally sound.
Volunteers from Knox County, whether already in assigned groups or seeking to attend the cleanups and be assigned a river area to help clean, will make their presence felt at both events, said Randy Canterbury, coordinator of the Knox County Recycling and Litter Program.
First up is the Mohican River & Wally Road Cleanup, sponsored by Friends of Mohican River Watershed. Signups will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Mohican State Park picnic pavilion, 3116 Ohio 3 in Loudonville. Volunteers will be directed to their area of the Mohican River and Wally Road starting around 10:30 a.m., with the event concluding between 1-2 p.m., Canterbury said. The event organizers provide canoes, transportation back to vehicles and trash bags. He advises wearing shorts and old tennis shoes for river cleanups because people will be in river waters, picking up items like old tires and scrap metal. Bringing gloves and sunscreen is also a good idea.
“This year, a lot of canoe liveries and local businesses in and around Loudonville are part of this event,” Canterbury said. “It’s been really well organized.”
The litter sweep will mainly be along the Mohican River between Mohican State Park and Greer, which is near the entry point going from Ashland County into Knox County. However, a Knox County group known as Paddle for Heroes will be going by canoe from Greer to the Bridge of Dreams, Canterbury said. He and fellow volunteer Russ Mentzer will be coordinating trash drop-off points at the Bridge of Dreams. The DKMM Solid Waste District will be accepting old tires. Canterbury said the trash collected by Knox County volunteers will be taken to Brinkhaven, where Mohican Wilderness Canoe will be providing a large trash receptacle.
“Actually, you can get quite a lot of trash and recyclable items into a canoe, and that includes old tires,” Canterbury said.
Next up will be the Kokosing River Rally 2019 on Saturday, Sept. 21, which involves a large presence of Knox County volunteers whose work an enthusiasm has allowed the successful event to grow every year, Canterbury said. They include representatives from local government agencies and businesses in and around Knox County, local colleges including Kenyon College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University volunteers, and members of the public who simply care about the beauty of rivers and their environments.
Registration for the Kokosing River Rally will start around 8:30 a.m. and be held at the CA&C Railroad Depot, 501 S. Main St. in Mount Vernon. Volunteers who wish to walk along the river, or take canoes to navigate its waters during cleanup but have not been assigned an area, are welcome and will be assigned areas to clean, Canterbury said. They will receive trash bags and gloves but will want to bring their own canoes if that is their preference. River cleanup will begin around 10:30 a.m. with groups working from Mount Vernon’s Riverside Park all the way to the Bridge of Dreams. The Kokosing River Rally will also conclude between 1-2 p.m., he said.
Canterbury noted some of the volunteer groups who are involved, and where along the Kokosing they will be cleaning up the river:
•A walking group led by Mount Vernon City Engineer Brian Ball will be cleaning along Delay Run, a creek near the Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge that connects with the Kokosing;
•Riverside Park in Mount Vernon will be cleaned by those on foot and in canoes, led by Heather Doherty of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources;
•The river near the CA&C Railroad Depot down to Memorial Park will be cleaned by those on foot led by Bill Loomer of Columbia Gas and Katie Hux of the Knox County Park District;
•A river stretch from the Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge to Lower Gambier Road will be led by Dave Priest and involve the Knox County and Mount Vernon Probation Departments;
•A group of Kenyon College students in canoes, led by Dave Heithaus of the Kenyon Green Initiative, will do river cleanup from Lower Gambier Road to Big Run Road;
•A group led by Sami Speizio of the American Kayakers Association will be cleaning the river along Zion Road;
•Another group in canoes led by Steve Fleming and Joey Butts will be river cleaning along the Pipesville Road area;
•Paddle for Heroes will also be river cleaning from Millwood to Riley Chapel Road.
Last year’s Kokosing State Scenic River Cleanup set new benchmarks for collection of trash and recyclables, Canterbury said: 2.92 tons of non-recyclable trash including construction debris, an old mattress, electronics, food containers and even bike frames; 1,400 pounds of recyclable scrap metal; and 155 old tires later recycled — two entire truckloads’ worth, he noted. About 300 volunteers participated.
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