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300 pounds of trash removed from Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Heritage Trail

| Saturday, March 28, 2015, 4:09 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Brian Tsui, a volunteer with Friends of the Riverfront, along with other volunteers, plants trees along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the South Side, Saturday, March 28, 2015.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Volunteers with Duquesne University's business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, pick up trash along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the South Side, Saturday, March 28, 2015. Helping are, from left, Lydia Williams, Jane Smigiel, and Nicole Clay.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Volunteers with Friends of the Riverfront, carry litter they picked up along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the South Side, Saturday, March 28, 2015.

Jay Kemp found a discarded “No Littering” sign during a cleanup last year of the South Side segment of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

Kemp, 60, of Friendship didn't find anything quite as amusing Saturday, but he said he was happy enough to do his part to get the trail ready for the season.

“It's good to see a difference,” Kemp said.

About 30 volunteers braved temperatures in the teens to scour the trail segment for debris, collecting about 300 pounds of trash and four tires, said Jeffrey McCauley, a stewardship coordinator for Friends of the Riverfront, the nonprofit organization responsible for the trail.

The kickoff event, also overseen by Friends of the Riverfront partners Rails to Trails Conservancy and REI outdoor gear and sporting goods store, included a 90-minute bike ride and volunteers planting trees and flowers.

Tess Dorr, 20, a junior at Duquesne University, organized more than a dozen members of the Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity to help with the cleanup.

“I think Pittsburgh does a really good job of keeping the area cleaned up, compared to other cities,” Dorr said.

The 24-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail stretches along both sides of all three rivers in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. A new study by Rails-To-Trails Conservancy says nearly 823,000 people visit the heritage trail annually, with 65 percent using the trail year-round. Biking makes up 44 percent of the primary activity, according to the study, and walking 33 percent. The trail has an annual economic impact estimated at $8.3 million.

Last year, more than 1,700 volunteers contributed more than 5,300 hours of service to Friends of the Riverfront at 50 Three Rivers Heritage Trail events, according to the organization.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or

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