CRANFORD, NJ – Cranford residents spread out across the town today to clean the Rahway River in the town’s annual clean up as a celebration of Earth Day. The cleanup was held in association with Girls Scout Troop 40444, Boy Scout Troop 80 and members of the Rahway River Watershed Association

The town-wide river cleanup began at 8 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m. Participants spread out across Riverside Drive, Droescher’s Mill Park, Crane Parkway, Mohawk Park and Nomahegan Park.  

About 15 volunteers were at Nomahegan Park by 10 a.m., according to Carol Berns, the leader for the Nomahegan Park section of the cleanup. More individuals and families were still arriving, despite the colder, cloudy weather.

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“Because the river is such an important part of Cranford, it’s nice to know there are a lot of people in the community who want to help keep it clean,” Berns said.

One volunteer, Sarah Warthen, had just moved to Cranford and wanted to help clean the river after seeing debris in the area while walking through the park.

“I’ve found a lot of water bottles and so many cigarettes,” Warthen said.

According to Berns, volunteers have unearthed tires, bicycles, shopping carts and even parts of an outhouse from the river in past years. A lot of those items come into the river from flooding, she said.

All participants were provided gloves and large garbage bags by the town, and were recommended to wear long sleeves, jeans and waterproof shoes.

 “I think it’s a good thing to do,” Warthen said, clad in track pants, a long t-shirt and boots. “It feels good and it’s a great workout.”