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Hundreds of volunteers help ‘Pick Up the Poconos’

Hundreds of volunteers spent April 24 removing trash from roads throughout four counties. The effort was part of the “Pick Up the Poconos” spring cleanup in honor of Earth Day, organized by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

More than 200 volunteers participated in Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg, Milford, Honesdale and Hawley/Lake Wallenpaupack. Participants included students and staff of East Stroudsburg University and the Wallenpaupack Area School District. Families with children under the age of 18 cleaned local parks.

Volunteers removed more than 540 bags of trash. That number includes the efforts of various individuals and community groups that organized their own cleanups in conjunction with “Pick Up the Poconos.” Groups including the Bill Kiger Community Cleanup, Friends of Cherry Valley, Honesdale Rotary, Keep Hawley-Honesdale Beautiful and Lackawaxen River Trails spearheaded cleanups while Pocono resorts such as Camelback, Great Wolf Lodge and Kalahari rallied employees and held cleanups around their properties.

Volunteers were able to select from six cleanup areas. The PMVB provided designated locations where volunteers picked up gloves, trash bags, safety vests, masks and hand sanitizer. The “Pick Up the Poconos” Spring Cleanup was supported by several partners including Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority, PennDOT, Waste Management and the participating municipalities.

“In addition to local roads, our highways are also looking cleaner and greener,” said Chris Barrett, president/CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. “As part of our overall Pick Up the Poconos campaign, the PMVB contracts with a company to clean Interstates 80 and 380 several times a year. Pocono 3C also operates year-round several times a week, cleaning Monroe County roads and highway ramps. The difference is noticeable.”

The PMVB typically holds its Pick Up the Poconos Day in late September. This smaller-scale spring effort was added in response to all the litter on our roadways. The fourth annual Pick Up the Poconos Day will take place regionwide on Sept. 25 and includes cleanup locations in every municipality. Once sign-ups open, volunteers can register on PickUpThePoconos.com.

Volunteers with just a few of the 540 bags of trash picked up throughout the area on April 24. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO