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Blackstone River Bike Path Clean Up - 4/14/2012


For Earth Month, the Outings Club teamed up with Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful in a clean up along the Blackstone River Bikeway near the Kelly House in Lincoln. The sun was shining and people were happy to have an excuse to get outside, even if it meant getting their hands a little dirty. The clean up was very successful with over 20 volunteers filling up over 20 bags of trash from along the bike path and the shoreline of the river and canal.


The most prominent pollution was in the form of plastic water and soda bottles, Styrofoam cups (mostly from Dunkin’ Donuts), and plastic shopping bags. The clean up got people talking about using less of each of these hazardous items in their every day lives. Kevin Proft, a member of the Sierra Club’s Outings Committee put it this way, “if people started filling up reusable canteens at the tap, got their to-go coffee in reusable mugs, and started bringing reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, then doing a clean up like this once a year might be enough. As it is, it is likely that in a month or so, this stretch of the bike path will once again be littered with bottles, cups and bags. It’s time to start putting these no brainer solutions to pollution into action.”


The outing also turned into an historic occasion when Kevin Proft and Nova Quinn, another attendee of the clean up, unearthed millworker artifacts dating back to the 1800s. While Kevin and Nova will be recognized for the discovery when the patterned pottery pieces are placed in a display case in the Kelly House, Vicky Carter deserves most of the credit. Vicky, a RI DEM Park Ranger at the Kelly House, found the pottery pieces in Kevin and Nova’s trash bag while she was moving some of the overflowing contents to a less full bag. Had it not been for her keen eye, the broken dishes would almost certainly have ended up in the landfill. Said Nova about the discovery, “I feel pretty lucky to have found a little piece of Rhode Island history today. I would have been happy just knowing I had helped clean up some trash, but finding those pieces of plate really made my day!”


Vicky brought it all full circle noting, “it seems we were cleaning up litter from the mill workers who worked here 200 years ago.” 



*Thanks to Dianne Mailloux of Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful for the photo of Vicky with the pottery and for all her hard work coordinating the clean up!

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