Lowe’s shopping carts hauled out during Fanning Wilderness cleanup

Lowe’s shopping carts hauled out during Fanning Wilderness cleanup

John O’Brien, left, and Mark Crawford, right, both of Cumberland, work to remove tires from the woods during a cleanup held by the Blackstone Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone last Saturday. The event was held at the Fanning Wilderness area off of Jones Street in Cumberland. (Breeze photos by Bill Murphy)

CUMBERLAND – A cleanup last Saturday of the area along the bike path near Jones and Silva Streets “went spectacularly,” said Judy Hadley of the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone.

Volunteers cleared out at least a dozen Lowe’s shopping carts from a steep embankment and difficult terrain, as well as tires and other items.

The preparation crew began work around 7:30 a.m. packing all the supplies into the trucks and loading the Kubota vehicle onto a trailer to bring down to the work site. The rest of the volunteers began arriving at 9 a.m. to set up along the bike path at the end of Jones Street.

The area cleaned is known as the Fanning Wilderness area, near the Valley Falls Marsh and Blackstone River.

There were at least 13 volunteers who worked a minimum of three hours apiece and several worked longer.

With no Lowe’s store in the vicinity, the speculation among volunteers is that the carts are dumped over the edge of the bank by someone looking to avoid having to properly dispose of them at the landfill.

In addition to the Lowe’s shopping carts, volunteers pulled out other items such as a toilet, a 55-gallon rusted barrel, many tires, car parts, an old couch, carpeting, asphalt shingles, deer skulls, two turtle shell carcasses, plastic recycling bins, paint cans, a rocking chair, and more.

“I like to compare it to the analogy of when you go grocery shopping and say that you are going there for only a few things and you come out with much more,” said Hadley. “Well, we went in for the Lowes shopping carts and came out with a whole lot more.”

The Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone regularly runs cleanups of the river and surrounding areas. Earlier this year, volunteers spent an entire day clearing out debris that was clogging a dam.

Josh Pontbriant, of Cumberland, stands next to a pile of illegally dumped shopping carts and other debris pulled from the woods during a cleanup by the Blackstone Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone at the Fanning Wilderness land off Jones Street in Valley Falls on Saturday.
John Carr, of Cumberland, one of the “Valley Boys,” tosses a tire he pulled out of the weeds during a cleanup held by the Blackstone Water Council/Friends of the Blackstone on Saturday. The group removed shopping carts, tires, plastic, cans, bottles and other debris.
Suzanne Matta, left, of Cumberland, a director of the Blackstone Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone, greets Kevin Burns, also of Cumberland, as he arrives in his Kubota RTV for the cleanup. Burns’ Kubota is equipped with a winch that was used to pull shopping carts out of the underbrush.
John Marsland, president and founder of the Blackstone Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone, rolls a tire to the pile during the group’s cleanup last Saturday.