Tuesday, September 18, 2012

14000 pounds of trash picked up along American River Parkway trail - Sacramento Bee

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The American River Parkway bike and recreation trail got some needed sprucing up last weekend as 2,000-plus volunteers hit the trail, collecting more than 14,000 pounds of trash during the American River Parkway Foundation's annual cleanup event.

"For 2,000 people to spend their Saturday morning helping restore probably the best civic amenity in Sacramento, that says a lot about how important this parkway is to the community," foundation executive director Dianna Poggetto said.

The cleanup also shows that plenty of people use the parkway as a dumping ground. Materials collected included used diapers, cans and bottles, cigarette butts, rusted bicycles, clothing and fishing lines.

"There were a lot of (car) tires throughout the parkway, more than usual," Poggetto said. "I have no idea how they got there."

Volunteers with Poggetto's foundation also do frequent cleanups in the Northgate Boulevard area of the parkway, which is dotted with numerous homeless camps.

City officials recently began discussions with businesses, property owners and social service agencies about ways to limit ad hoc food drop-offs for the homeless in that area of the parkway.

Business owners and residents say they fear the drop-offs attract more homeless to the parkway. Bike commuters also have complained about off-leash dogs and sizable clusters of homeless people next to the path in the Northgate area.

Despite ongoing funding problems, county and state officials say they have lined up several trail improvement projects this year and next.

The state parks department has won a $423,000 federal grant to repave 3.5 miles of trail between Beals Point and Lake Natoma. That several-month project will launch in the spring. Jim Micheael, a state parks senior park and recreation specialist, said the state will post construction-related detours when necessary.

County officials, who manage the portion of the recreation trail west of Hazel Avenue, have slated a series of smaller pavement repairs this fall, including repaving along the Campus Commons golf course trail section. The county just finished trail repairs near where Harrington Way crosses the trail in the Arden Arcade area.

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Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

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