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Kittatinny Canoes clean 'on and under' the Delaware River

Kittatinny Canoes clean 'on and under' the Delaware River; trash collected in Dingmans Ferry, Pike County.

DINGMANS FERRY, PIKE COUNTY (WOLF) -- A perfect day to be on the water.

"It takes my breath away every time," says National Parks Service Public Information Officer Kathleen Sandt.

The sun on your skin... breeze in your hair... bags of trash in your canoe.

"It's the 'On And Under The Delaware River Cleanup', so people will be out here in boats and they'll actually be in the water looking for trash," she says.

For 28 years, Kittatinny Canoes has been organizing volunteers to cleanup the Delaware River, one of the last un-damned rivers east of the Mississippi.

"The Delaware River Watershed provides drinking water to over ten percent of the American population. So we depend on it for survival, and it's that much more important that we keep it clean," said Sandt.

Kittatinny crews say over the last nearly three decades, volunteers have collected more than 450 tons of garbage almost 9,000 pounds of cans.

Trekking through reeds, pulling out whatever looks like it doesn't belong.

"We were finding tires from the 40's and 50's, the old, skinny buggy tires, right on up to modern day tires," says volunteer Don Thompson.

"We find lots of things people leave behind when they go camping or fishing," says Sandt.

Leaving a mess for more than just people.

"Of course there're lots of turtles and frogs and amphibians and reptiles that live along the river. It's teaming with wildlife," Sandt says.

Veteran volunteers say much of the trash has washed down from upriver.

"When we get high waters and floods a lot of people that are actually novice to the area, leave their stuff laying out and not realizing that water can go up and go down rapidly around here," says Thompson.

But efforts of seventy-five volunteers out on the water this year leave even this seasoned river-goer amazed.

"When I see all these people out here that care so much about it just like I do, that they're out there giving their time off on their important days to come in here and volunteer to help keep it clean and enjoyable, it kinda gives me goosebumps, even on a hot day," says Sandt

"This is my home and I always come back to it, you know? To help out like this is the least I could do for all the enjoyment it's given me," says volunteer Garret Wilson.

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