(December 1, 2020) Beltzville State Park is one of the many state parks across Pennsylvania to experience an uptick in visitors this year. With most other forms of entertainment shut down due to the pandemic, outdoor recreation soared and so did the amount of litter left behind. Thanks to the Beltzville State Park Friends group, the park saw regular litter pick-ups. The group adopted Beltzville Lake and shore area and a two-mile stretch of nearby Pohopoco Drive in 2016 through Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s road and area adoption program. Staff at Beltzville State Park support cleanups of the lake area while Towamensing and Franklin Townships approved the adoption and regular litter cleanups along Pohopoco Drive.
The Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful adoption program is available statewide for municipal roads, parks, neighborhood blocks, greenways, waterways and trails. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provides a sign recognizing the volunteers’ efforts and seeks the support of the local parks and municipalities to provide the sign post, install the sign and provide trash disposal options as needed.
“Shortly after forming the Beltzville State Park Friends Group, we became involved with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. They provided recognition signs for our road and lakeshore adoptions. The signs not only helped us get our name out there, but also let people know the areas are being watched and taken care of. This year, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful provided our group with new litter grabbers and we get free cleanup supplies by participating in their Pick Up Pennsylvania event in the spring and fall,” said Diane Szwajkowski, Chair of Friends of Beltzville State Park.
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, funded by the NiSource Charitable Foundation, provided litter grabbers to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful adopters. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT, Keep America Beautiful, GLAD Products Company and the Ocean Conservancy provided gloves, bags and safety vests to participants registered with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Pick Up Pennsylvania initiative.
“Litter cleanups divert park and municipal personnel from routine maintenance tasks meant to benefit the health and safety of the community. It affects neighborhoods environmentally, socially and economically,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
According to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s 2019 study, The Cost of Littering and Illegal Dumping in Pennsylvania, just nine cities in Pennsylvania spend $68 million annually on cleanup, education, enforcement and prevention efforts to address litter and illegal dumping. In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spent over $65 million removing litter from within highway rights-of-way between 2014 and 2018.
“Our adoption program helps mitigate costs by providing the tools and resources residents need to be stewards of their communities,” said Reiter. “We appreciate the commitment of the Friends group at Beltzville State Park and for the cooperation and support of the State Park and municipalities. This partnership has improved the park and surrounding area for all visitors and the wildlife that call it home. Without everyone’s cooperation, our program would not be possible. Thank you!”
“As an all-volunteer group, we look forward to our cleanups. It provides an opportunity for us to socialize with like-minded people and we enjoy improving our State Park and local community. The park takes care of the trash we collect. It has been a great relationship. We are grateful for the support of the park and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful,” said Szwajkowski.
Until the threat of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) passes, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful suggests doing a cleanup either solo or with household family members and encourages adhering to the recommendations for social distancing.
For more information about adopting a municipal road, park, trail or waterway, visit keeppabeautiful.org and choose Keep It, then Adoption Program or contact Stephanie Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877.772.3673 x104. For information about adopting a state maintained road, visit the PA Department of Transportation at www.penndot.gov and search Adopt-a-Highway.
About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s vision is a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state to pick up nearly 147 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania’s roadways, waterways, greenways, vacant lots, forestlands and other community spaces. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s core programming focuses on litter and illegal dump prevention, cleanup, community greening, and proper waste handling and sustainable practices. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works with many partnering organizations on the state and grassroots level to accomplish our goal of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.