One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so the saying goes.
On the banks of the Rock River, one man’s trash is another man’s eyesore. Thank goodness volunteers are willing to step forward to clean it up.
We speak of the Rock River Sweep movement, which was begun 6 years ago in Oregon by Frank Masterman.
Since then, various sections of the 285-mile river have been systematically “swept” by volunteers for trash.
The latest incarnation of the Rock River Sweep will take place Saturday morning in Oregon and Byron.
Volunteers in Oregon will meet at Kiwanis Park to check in starting at 7:30 a.m. From 8 a.m. until noon, people will take to the river in boats and walk the banks along a 7-mile stretch between Lowden State Park and Castle Rock State Park. For information, call Steve Rypkema at 815-732-4020.
In Byron, volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. at the park on River Road across from the Byron Forest Preserve entrance, then go upstream and downstream from there in boats and on foot. For information, call Frank Schier at 815-964-9767.
In both instances, boat, canoe and kayak owners are particularly sought, as they can reach trash and junk not accessible from land.
What kind of garbage do volunteers pick up?
The list could make you laugh and cry.
Tires, lawn mowers, car batteries, bicycles, tricycles, barrels, sleeping bags, lawn chairs, and brake drums have been fished out of the water.
So have shopping carts, swing sets, a basketball hoop, garden hoses, car bumpers, a refrigerator, a boom box, and parts of a boat dock.
How about a mannequin head? A parachute? A large political campaign sign that washed down the river from Wisconsin?
Not to mention the usual suspects: cans, bottles, plastic, glass, cardboard and paper.
The Rock River is a wonderful asset to our region.
Thumbs down to the careless people who so cavalierly discard their trash in it.
Thumbs up to the caring people who volunteer to pick up that trash.