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September 2003

Volunteers Cleared Over 55 Tons of Debris from State Forest

Harrisburg, PA— Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Michael DiBerardinis announced that volunteers removed more than 55 tons of debris and tires from an illegal dumpsite in Buchanan State Forest, Bedford County, as part of the state's Forest Lands Beautification Program.

"Hundreds of large truck tires and other trash contained water that was providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes," Secretary DiBerardinis said. "This Dirty Dozen dumpsite degraded the beauty of this natural area, but thanks to the volunteers and contractors involved, Phase 1 of this cleanup was a success."

Located along Burnt Church Road, the first stage of the cleanup netted 45 tons of trash, as well as appliances, construction debris, household trash and 10.7 tons of tires.

"What stood out about this site was the tremendous depth of garbage on the embankment," Buchanan District Forester Jim Smith said. "Normally, you would expect the trash to be piled on top of the ground, but this entire bank was just layer upon layer of solid trash. I'm 6'3", and I couldn't see over top of it. It was a remarkable cooperative effort, and we're very pleased with the outcome."

Twenty-seven volunteers donated a total of 69.5 hours to the project. In addition to local residents, volunteers were comprised of the Bedford County Youth Probation program, Cornell Abraxas, and PA CleanWays of Bedford County.

Contracted services were provided by: Roll Off Container Service, Osterburg; Richard Mikesic, Johnstown; Jake Hoover's Septic Cleaning, Bedford; Penn Turf Inc., Hollidaysburg; Kevin Hinish, Breezewood; and WSI-Sandy Run Landfill, Hopewell. WSI donated all trash disposal.

The site is located along a 1/2-mile stretch of Burnt Church Road in East Providence Township. While the first phase of the cleanup proved successful, several tons of trash still remain. Anyone who would like to volunteer for the second phase of the cleanup in fall 2003 should contact Shawn Wigle at PA CleanWays, 1-877-7PA-FOREST.

Surveillance cameras are being installed in strategic locations throughout the forest, and residents are being asked to keep an eye out to help prevent future illegal dumping.

Dumping in state forests damages the environment and it has serious consequences for the dumper. Perpetrators caught dumping face arrest and frequently pay fines or serve community service.

 


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