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Hundreds gather to clean river

Santa Clarita hosts annual trash pickup and environmental expo

Posted: September 22, 2012 10:31 p.m.
Updated: September 22, 2012 10:31 p.m.

Dennis Luker, 37, of Saugus, picks up trash as part of Cub Scout Pack 527 of Santa Clarita, with his 6-year-old son Tyler, right, and fellow pack member Carlo Colon.


Hundreds of troops, packs, clubs and other residents swarmed the Santa Clara River bed Saturday for the city’s 18th annual River Rally trash cleanup and environmental expo.

“It’s going great,” Travis Lange of the city’s Environmental Service Department said of the Saturday morning event in Canyon Country. More than 1,700 collection bags had been given away to volunteers to help pick up trash.

“We ask them to work and clean up, and every year a ton of people show up — it’s great.”

City officials passed out reusable bags as well as gloves to about 1,400 volunteers, gave away trees for planting in private yards and held an environmental expo to spread a message of environmental awareness.

As the temperature hit the 90s and the crowd returned from the riverbed to water, crushed-ice drinks and donuts, parents and children said they were appreciative of the community effort.

Miranda Hutt, a Saugus High School senior who is also taking an AP Environmental Science course, wanted to get some hands-on experience. She plans to go into environmental science when she finishes her studies.

“I just think that the longer the Earth lives, the better off everyone is,” Hutt said. “So I just want to help.”

Some parents were watching Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts and hoping the Earth-preserving message was sinking in with them, too.

“I hope so,” said Jerry Dougherty, 50, of Canyon Country, who with a pack of scouts picked up trash in the sandy river bottom.

“We do a walk-through before we leave a campsite and we’ll see trash, and sometimes the kids say, ‘Hey, that’s not ours,’ and we say, ‘Hey, let’s pick it up anyways,’” Dougherty said. “So I hope so.”

“Now if I could just get them to clean up their rooms,” he said with a laugh.



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