Clean-up effort focuses on nine sites along Bear Creek – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Annie and Tiffany Idiart move a severed limb during the Greenway Cleanup on Saturday morning at Central Point.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneDonavan Edwards makes cuts during the greenway cleanup on Saturday morning at Central Point.

A group of volunteers spent Saturday morning beautifying the local outdoor spaces to mark Bear Creek Stewardship Day.

One of the volunteers, Amanda Wolfe, from Central Point, was walking along the greenway near Pine Street and pushing a wheelbarrow full of mulch.

“This is my first time participating in the cleanup,” said Amanda, a teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. “I didn’t want to sit there complaining and doing nothing to help.”

Although she doesn’t often use the trail there, her aunt does, she said.

Wendie Wolfe, also from Central Point, was pushing a wheelbarrow and passed his niece, Amanda, on the trail. Both were part of over 20 volunteers in the Pine Street haulage and mulch application.

Helen Hull, 16, and her younger brother Gibson Hull, 14, both of Central Point, were raking mulch next to the trailhead on a piece of land near the Pine Street Bridge over the creek.

“We’ve done bike rides here before,” recalls Helen.

Gibson had been at the April cleanup to pull weeds and bushes. He said he hadn’t had the chance to get a good overview of where he had worked the last time.

It was the first time that Hélène participated.

Both siblings said they were positive about the work they were doing.

“It’s a good experience,” noted Helen.

Others have been seen picking up trash or trimming bushes.

Bear Creek Stewards, the organization that organized the cleanup, is made up of members representing local towns, groups and businesses. On Saturday, the focus was on beautification projects at nine locations along the watershed from Central Point to the Ashland area. Volunteers could choose from a variety of locations to do their work as well as select an activity.

For example, Coleman Creek, Blue Heron and Lynn Newbry parks were designed for blueberry harvesting. Pine Street was not only a mulching site, but volunteers also took care of weeding and maintaining the plants.

The Bear Creek Greenway Trail is 20 miles long and stretches from Central Point to Ashland.

The Pine Street neighborhood has undergone improvement work since the Penninger fire in 2018, said Amie Siedlecki, water quality technician, Natural Resources, Rogue Valley Council of Governments.

This fire started near the Jackson County Exposition in July 2018 and burned 97 acres. It resulted in the death of a homeless man and destroyed five outbuildings, according to previous reports.

Replacement cotton trees and junipers, still young, can be seen at the Pine Street site, which also has interpretive signs providing information on topics such as fire safety, ecology and plants, said Seidlecki.

Much of the stream corridor was also burned in the Almeda fire that occurred in September 2020.

Social distancing was emphasized and face masks were available to help participants avoid exposure to COVID-19. The event was also a way of recognizing National Public Lands Day, which also took place on Saturday.

Their April cleanups coincide with Earth Day and the last involved more than 200 volunteers. They removed about 7,000 pounds of trash, 480 pounds of dead juniper and over 500 pounds of metal which were then recycled, the Bear Creek Stewardship reported.

These twice-yearly cleanups began in 2015. Over 21,000 pounds of trash alone was removed during these events.

SOLVE is the statewide sponsor of Saturday clean-up events along beaches and other waterways, including this local effort. With the help of partners and donors, the Portland-based group aims to preserve and restore the state’s environment through volunteer efforts, according to its website, solveoregon.org.


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