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Litter prevention program cuts butts at Ohiopyle, Raccoon Creek parks

Jeff Himler
| Friday, Oct. 6, 2017
A biker rides along the Great Allegheny Passage past fall foliage in Ohiopyle State Park. (Trib photo)
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
A biker rides along the Great Allegheny Passage past fall foliage in Ohiopyle State Park. (Trib photo)

Six Pennsylvania state parks, including Ohiopyle in Fayette County and Raccoon Creek in Beaver County, have seen a reduction in unsightly cigarette litter through a grant program administered by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

Cook Forest, Clear Creek, Kinzua Bridge and Maurice K. Goddard state parks also are part of the program, which has seen cigarette litter in targeted areas of each park drop from a combined 4,566 butts during an initial count to 966 in a second count conducted this year. A final count will occur next May.

Stand-alone receptacles for cigarette butts and wall-mounted ashtrays were placed in the target areas — typically places where smokers must stop smoking before proceeding. Park maintenance staff are in charge of emptying the receptacles.

National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful provided a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant that allowed Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to supply participating parks with the receptacles, educational materials, litter prevention signs and additional pocket or car ashtrays that visitors can pick up at park offices or ranger stations.

Assistant Park Manager Jessica Stewart said the receptacles have dramatically reduced the cigarette litter that distracts from the natural surroundings at Cook Forest and Clear Creek state parks.

“Less cigarette litter also enables the park's maintenance staff to dedicate their time toward other priorities,” she said in a press release.

Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered items in the nation, representing nearly 38 percent of all litter, according to a study by Keep America Beautiful.

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Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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