VERONA/CEDAR GROVE, NJ - The Verona and Cedar Grove environmental commissions are teaming up with Essex County Parks to clean up the West Essex Trail on Saturday, April 1. The clean-up will focus on the 1.3 mile section of the trail between Fairview Avenue in Verona and Pompton Avenue in Cedar Grove.

Volunteers are invited to meet at 9 a.m. at the parking lot of Aqua Products, 280 Grove Avenue in Cedar Grove, which is close to the largest garbage items on the trail. The parking lot is at the end of Lewis Road (40 Lewis Road). Volunteers are authorized to park there and use the dumpsters on site for regular garbage. The Department of Public Works will provide cleaning supplies, rakes, wheelbarrows and a truck to collect recyclable items, car tires, metal items, etc. A smaller group will meet at the trail entrance on 201 Fairview Avenue in Verona.

The primary access to the trail is at 201 Fairview Avenue, off Sampson Drive near the Verona High School, and from there the trail stretches about 3 miles to just past County Road 612 in Little Falls. Everybody shares this wonderful trail, joggers, hikers, bikers and dog walkers.

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This is a county park and volunteers need to sign a waiver available at the event to participate. To save time, you can download and print this waiver from the Verona Environmental Commission‘s website, sign it and bring it to the event. Waivers for minors under 18 must be signed by parent.

Volunteers should use caution when handling trash, and avoid hazardous materials like broken glass. Long pants, long sleeve shirts, sturdy work boots, reusable water bottles, and gloves are recommended. All cleaning supplies will be available on site.

Several local organizations are participating. Theresa Trapp from the Hilltop Conservancy, Mara Silgailis from the Cedar Grove Environmental Commission, Steve Neale from Sustainable Verona, and Gloria Machnowski from the Verona Environmental Commission will be acting as captains for the day. Also, members and relatives of the following groups are participating: the West Essex Trail Warriors (W.E.T. Warriors) a group of runners that have been using this trail for over 10 years; the Essex Offroad MTB Team, middle and high school students that regularly ride on this trail for practice, and the Verona Boy Scout Troop 2.

The West Essex Trail crosses a trestle over the Peckman River, near the meeting location. Carolyn Rubinfeld (NJWAP Watershed Ambassador WMA 4) will give a guided tour to the river at 11 a.m. during a cleanup break. The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission is donating industrial-strength trash bags, recycling bags and work gloves for the event.

To participate please contact Gloria Machnowski, Verona Environmental Commission chairperson, at Walk-ins are also welcomed.