Earth Day Crusade

According to Winds or Star, a new kind of nautical captain is emerging to fight filth along River Canard. Similar to those who adopt stretches of highway and commit to cleaning them of litter, lovers of the outdoors are being commissioned to adopt pieces of a local watershed to help keep them clean.

“People kept saying over the years, ‘Why don’t you do something?’” Ron LaPointe, the owner of River Canard Canoe Co., said of guests whose enjoyment of an Essex County natural jewel was marred by the environmental disrespect shown by others.

Last year, LaPointe helped organize an Earth Day cleanup and the response was modest. This year, after posting photos on social media of the types of trash some messy folks leave behind, “we’ve had a big public response,” he said.

Even before the canoes are passed out April 22 with gloves and garbage bags for participants to haul trash out of the historic watershed, LaPointe said environmentally minded folks are volunteering as river captains, taking on the cleanup responsibility for portions of the Canard.

“The one-day thing is nice, but the real deal is people looking after sections of the river — instead of doing it all in one day, now we can coordinate,” he said. With two couples already commissioned, the captains take on leadership roles, he said, hopefully inspiring others to join the ongoing cleanup effort.

Bottles, cans, and grocery bags are among the mostly plastic garbage that litters many parts of the watershed. LaPointe, who blames “lazy people” for the mess, said it’s no different than in other natural areas in the county and city. In addition to wayward bits of trash, he said there are places along the Canard where vehicles stop to dump household wastes, including roof shingles, pool covers, and hockey nets.

Rain or shine on April 22, volunteers are asked to dress for the weather and gather at River Canard Canoe Co. (9350 Malden Rd.) at 1 p.m. Gloves and bags will be provided. Cleaners can tackle the shoreline or grab a canoe and attack the litter from the water, find liquor store.

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