Friday, November 16, 2018

Volunteers Move Mountains (Of Tires) In Susquehanna County

By: Josh Raulerson, PA Environmental Council

The site of Barbara Bradford’s home near Canawacta Creek in Lanesboro, Susquehanna County, is as historic as it is picturesque.
Built in the 1830s, the small stone house stands among the remnants of a small commercial district-- complete with blacksmith and livery stable-- that once occupied this spot.
Though the home has been lovingly restored along with its original stonework and even many of its original stained-glass windows, little remains of the accompanying buildings other than bits of half-buried foundation.
Far more visible, unfortunately, is the residue of a more recent era: thousands of old car tires and debris discarded here throughout the 20th century.
Juxtaposed with the otherwise scenic wooded landscape of Barbara’s property, the tires create an unsightly vista that’s all too common in this part of Pennsylvania, where the lush green hills and valleys-- now streaked with vivid blazes of fall color-- are often blemished by illegal or illicit dumpsites.
“This used to be the Grant Brown junkyard here in Lanesboro,” says Stan Rockwell, a neighbor who’s out on this chilly Saturday to help clean up the historic eyesore. “Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s this used to be filled with junk cars, and people from the area would come around and take car parts. So now here we are, picking up tires.”
“I saw some old aerial photos recently that showed this whole area was lined with cars,” adds Dana Rockwell. “They must have just put all the tires here. But unfortunately it connects to Canawacta Creek, only about a quarter mile from the Susquehanna River. So if we get them cleaned up, that’ll prevent any flooding washing them into the river eventually.”
Stan and Dana are among 23 volunteers donating a portion of their weekend to PEC’s Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program, which organizes events like this one all over the region in conjunction with Keep Northeastern Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Today’s cleanup is part of a years-long restoration effort undertaken by Bradford when she bought the property. Though she was able to pay for renovation of the residence, removing a half-century’s worth of accumulated junk along the creek proved beyond her means.
“This is amazing!” Barbara exclaims. “One hour in, we’ve got one dumpster full and we’re working on the second. I’m so pleased.”
By day’s end, volunteers will have filled four thirty-yard dumpsters with mostly deteriorated tires. Tomorrow they’ll fill two more, bringing the total haul to 3,627 tires weighing in at more than 43 and a half tons.
“We got a lot of tires here,” Dana observes. “Wish we had a bigger machine!”
“Because of the condition of the tires they could not be recycled,” says PEC program coordinator Palmira Miller, “So we worked with DEP and Waste Management to get them into the Alliance Landfill where they will be split and disposed of.”
The good news: though it took decades to build this mountain of rotting rubber, it only took a weekend – a total of 153 volunteer hours – to move it.
“Hopefully this is the last time we pick up tires here,” says Stan
To learn more about cleanup programs in the Northeast, contact Palmira Miller, Program Coordinator, by calling 570-718-6507 or send email to:
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook.  Visit PEC’s Audio Room for the latest podcasts.  Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.

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