Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Apr 5 2008 - Patuxent River Canoe Cleanup (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Saki Saki
Participants:Saki Saki, Glenn Peddicord, Joe John, Norma Broadwater, Ruwan Alwis, Christie, Lucas Fisher, Laura Pallandre, Brian Hand, Anne Marie Hoffman

Write Up:
The only thing predictable about weather in Maryland is unpredictability. That's why it pays to be flexible and adaptable to changes.

Last year, I led five eager volunteers on the Patuxent River (Pax) to pick up trash. We were quite successful and managed to remove about 500 pounds of litter. I decided to organize another event this year with a goal of collecting twice as much trash!

I contacted Stephanie at Patuxent River Park and Lindsay at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. April 5, 2008 was the scheduled park cleanup date. At Patuxent River Park, volunteers would either walk to various parts of the park to pick up trash or be shuttled via flat-bottomed power boat to places along the shore. At the Sanctuary, people would just travel by foot to various spots to remove litter.

Experience has shown that the places with the most litter are the ones closest to the water. These are also the places most difficult to reach via land. Using the heavy duty aluminum canoes at Patuxent River Park, I planned to lead my group ashore to remove trash at the two parks. I knew the area very well, both on land and on the water, having spent much time kayaking and hiking nearby. The Pax has brought me years of outdoor enjoyment. This was my chance to give a little something back.

After posting my event, I managed to recruit several volunteers. I sent out an initial message to my group six days prior to the event passing along any new information and reminding them of anything worth mentioning twice. Two days prior, I checked the weather report. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported the following for April 5: "Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 61. North wind between 7 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between one and two inches possible." This was not good.

I contacted Stephanie at the Park. They decided to cancel all cleanup boating activities out of safety concerns. I would have done the same. Taking beginning canoeists on a river high from excess rain then asking them to paddle with boats full of heavy trash bags was not wise. But the land-based cleanup would still take place. Hence, I informed the group that I would help with that. Since this wasn't what they signed up for, I assured them they could drop out of the event if they wanted, without penalty from the club. A few did but most still showed up.

On Saturday morning, Norma and I drove to the park, passing two deer crossing the road. Arriving a bit early, we used the park spotting scope to view a nesting osprey on a platform.

Around 0900, Anne Marie, Brian, Christie, Glenn, Joe, Lucas, Norma, and Ruwan showed up, ready and willing to work.

The weather turned out to be dry...not a drop of rain. Greg said they would go ahead with their boat cleanup and we could still use their canoes if I so desired. I checked with the group and they were still eager to do the canoe cleanup. Things were originally on, then off, and now on again. This was a good lesson for me in being adaptable.

Carl and Lisa also showed up to participate in the cleanup using canoes but with a different group. They were with the Appalachian Mountain Club. With only two of them present, Stephanie asked if they could join our group and I gladly accepted them. It turned out that Carl has extensive canoeing and trip leading experience so his assistance was most welcome.

After distributing personal flotation devices (PFDs), passing out paddles, unloading canoes, filling out park waivers, distributing trash bags and gloves, and relaying any remaining information, we were off at 0950, launching from Jackson's Landing.

A fairly strong downstream current and headwind made paddling upstream difficult. I have quite a bit of kayaking experience but canoes are a totally different animal for me so I wasn't particularly helpful in of

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