K9 Trailblazers Dog Hiking Club
Potomac Watershed Cleanup at Turkey Run
April 5, 2003

Click Here for a summary of Potomac Watershed Clean-up Day events all across the area

The morning was chilly and drizzly Saturday, April 5th. But 16 people and 7 dogs showed up eager to collect trash along the Potomac River as well as in parking lots, picnic areas and along the road in Turkey Run Park. This was K9Trailblazers second annual participation in Potomac River Clean-up Day. Blue Dog biscuits and Tootsie Rolls were welcome, and there were some wildflowers in bloom, but these folks had to have greater motivation than that to give up their time and do such dirty work!

Crew leaders Lisa and Chuck, whose team included Sarah and Eric with  Toby, Mark and Mary with Dylan, and newcomers Mark and Grant with Claire, worked through the park and then down the red trail to the river, and then along the river as well-- Nice job everyone! We missed Jester but understand his reluctance to go out in the rain to inch around the park picking up trash.

Jeff, who came without Katy, headed directly to the river on the yellow trail, a steep set of stairs and switchbacks which his team re-named "heartbreak hill" when it came time to haul their heavy trash up to the collection point in Parking Area C-1. Good sports on Jeff's team, which cleaned out to Dead Run, included newcomers Elissa, along with Gail and Bruce with Roscoe, Nancy with Tester, Jeanne who left Tanka home this year and Cheryl who left the Golden Boys home sleeping on the couch.

Pat thanks Rory, who at 10 mos. of age did a wonderful job of supervising trash pick up and site coordination at C-1 and being happy with a "hike" that only went around in circles.

What a difference a year makes! We reaped big benefits this year by having experienced crew leaders and workers. We also noticed that there was considerably less trash to be collected this year. Some wondered whether we were just lucky? Or whether last year's clean-up had picked up trash deposits from several previous years? Or whether cleaning up last year made park visitors more aware that their trash looked "out of place" when they tossed it onto nearby vegetation?

Chuck, who has been nominated as K9TB "supplies manager," distributed dustpans and brooms as well as gorgeous purple latex-free gloves, from small to extra-large, to wear under the coated cloth gloves the National Park Service provided. And everyone who came was willing to dig through the trunk of the car whenever a need arose. Thanks! For the extra FRS radios, Bruce; and for more pens, Sarah; and for extra trash bags, Jeanne; and for your optimism in bringing wheelbarrows and carts, Mark and Mary and Cheryl. All participants brought personal first aid supplies to supplement the ones at the aid station in C1, and as usual we gave thanks that everyone did a great job of putting safety first for themselves and their dogs!

Cleaning up along the Potomac, where recent flooding left large amounts of debris, crew members found some noteworthy items. This year, in addition to picking up trash we counted all plastic bottles. Clean ones were put into special blue bags for recycling and the rest went into the black trash bags.

K9Trailblazers picked up 25 bags of trash, 3 bags of recyclable plastic bottles, 3-1/2 tires, a sofa cushion, the top half of a Dutch door ormaybe it was a chicken coop door (with screen!), only one tennis ball, a drive shaft carried out of the woods by Chuck, and a 55-gallon blackplastic barrel carried up from the river by Sarah.

Crews were relieved to find fewer beer bottles which are heavy and hard to carry. This year we gave our results sheet to the National Park Service, and there was no computation number for estimating the total weight of our bags, but based on last year's haul we feel certain that we removed several hundred pounds of trash. We left some things in place including dead wildlife and any trash in the river that would have required stepping into the water. We didn't encounter any HazMat or medical waste. And we were careful to double-bag any broken glass or sharp items.

K9Trailblazers wanted to help the environment and give something back to Turkey Run Park as a way of showing our appreciation for being welcome with our dogs on the trails and on special ranger-led hikes. We did that! The supervisory park ranger told us several times that the National Park Service is grateful for our help. Way to go folks- MANY THANKS and we'll hope to see some or all of you again next time!

(click on images for larger pictures)

Pat rounds up the troops for the cleanup Chuck, Mark and Grant get ready to clean Blood Root waiting for the sun Crossing Turkey Run
Cheryl searches for trash Spring Beauty peeks from behind a rock Jeanne picks up along Turkey Run The Bluebells were just starting to bloom
High water on the Potomac left much debris along the trail Bruce and Elissa bag a pile of trash Ferns start to unfurl Nancy and Tester head down to Turkey Run
Cleaner then last year but still lots of trash Gail and Roscoe wait for Bruce to spruce up Rory and Pat pose by the spoils of the day Bruce wins for "dirtiest cleanup worker"
One of many rattlin' rocks along the Potomac A sparkling clean trail A wet spring results in scenic waterfalls Looking down on the Potomac