Nearly 30 volunteers came out in celebration of National Public Lands Day in Scranton on Saturday, Sept. 29 to help with the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area (LHVA) hosted clean-up event along the Scranton section of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.
The brisk, overcast morning didn't stop eager volunteers from rolling up their sleeves in an effort to deter vandalism.
The clean up was centered around covering up vandalism under the bridges and along the trail that leads from the 7th Avenue Trailhead, adjacent to LHVA's new headquarters, toward Scranton High School. At 9 a.m., volunteers gathered to collect paint, brushes, rollers, and other supplies, all provided by LHVA. "Almost all of our volunteers are returning volunteers," said Owen Worozbyt, LHVA volunteer coordinator. "I'm always pleased with the number of volunteers that come to help out."
The clean up was mainly concerned with covering recent spray paint vandalism, in hopes of deterring troublemakers from continuing to deface these public lands.
"We want people to continue to use and enjoy the trail," said Worozbyt, "not be discouraged by graffiti."
Volunteers are hoping that LHVA's efforts sent out a positive message that vandalism won't be tolerated. Volunteers said they will continue to paint over the vulgarities.
"It's sad that this keeps happening," said Sheli McHugh, LHVA volunteer. "I hope this will stop them from covering our hard work."
Less than an hour into the clean up, much of the vandalism was covered by fresh white paint. This was the first clean up in close to three months, but it will not be the last. "We want to start a patrol program so we can learn about vandalism as it happens and clean it up as soon as we can," said Worozbyt. "We want to encourage service."
For more information about the LHVA, visit www.lhva.org.