Oregon volunteers needed for Rock Sweep

The Eighth Annual Oregon Area Rock River Sweep will be held on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Check in will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Kiwanis Park, behind Conover Square, at the intersection of North Second Street and Franklin Street.

Volunteers are needed on foot or in boats to clean up a seven-mile section of the Rock River, from the boat landing on IL Rt. 2 to Castle Rock State Park boat landing, in this annual effort to protect and preserve this beautiful local resource.  Boaters, paddlers, river land owners, scout groups, service organizations and individuals are needed to help pick up trash as well as sort the recyclable items from the trash.  Students can earn community service hours by helping out.

This year, White Pelican Canoe & Kayak Rental Inc., will be providing a limited number of canoes for use in the effort and will also provide free shuttle service from Castle Rock boat landing back to Kiwanis Park for those with their own canoes or kayaks.  In addition, volunteers from Oregon Together will be helping with the event.

All participants are asked to check in at the Kiwanis Park, where they will be assigned to a section of the river to focus on.  Those with motorized boats can then proceed to the boat landings to cover their section.  Those on foot will walk or drive to areas accessible from shore.  Several drop-off sites for trash will be located along the cleanup route, where crews from the Oregon Park District, Ogle County Highway Department and the Solid Waste Management Department will pick it up and take it back to Kiwanis Park for sorting and recycling.  Refreshments will be available afterward.

Gloves, safety vests, trash bags, bug spray, snacks and water will be available, as well as a limited number of T-shirts for sale or for free.  Participants are encouraged to wear long sleeves, long pants, and old shoes, and to bring a reusable water bottle to the event to reduce waste.

The Rock River Sweep is an effort by many groups up and down the Rock River, from Horicon Wisconsin to where it meets the Mississippi River, to clean up sections of the river.  It is sponsored by RockRiverSweep.org, a grass roots, non-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the health and ecosystem of the Rock River and its tributaries.  Other sponsors include the Rock River Trail Initiative and The Rock River Times.

Locally, the Oregon Area Rock River Sweep is also sponsored by the Ogle County Solid Waste Management, Highway and Sheriff’s Departments, the Oregon Park District, Oregon Together, White Pelican Canoe & Kayak Rental, and American Rivers National River Cleanup.  For more information, visit Facebook: “Rock River Sweep.org”, or rockriversweep.org, email srypkema@oglecounty.org, or call 815-732-4020.

–Steve Rypkema

Share this story