SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – When a simple paddling trip turns into a tire-scouting safari, what follows is a targeted river cleanup! After noting the location of around 20 tires at the bottom of the Black River along Paddock Road in Springfield, Black River Action Team director Kelly Stettner organized a small flotilla to retrieve them.
The “haul” ended up being over three times the size originally estimated. Daughter Moira Stettner and son Armando Stettner worked the river bottom, while several volunteers collected the tires in boats. Steve and Maura Anderson used a whitewater kayak as an outrigger to stabilize their canoe, so they could winch the tires aboard with a pulley system Steve designed. Kayla and Jordan Baker scouted from above and muscled dozens of tires into their canoe. Paddock Road resident Bitsy Biron ventured out to snap photos of the team at work. Richard Barber and son Leonard motored up from Hoyt’s Landing, towing Harry Milkman is a sturdy rowboat.
After several hours’ work over the course of roughly one mile of river, the Tire Brigade was ready to call it a day. Tires had to be offloaded to the bank of Paddock Road to make room for the final “haul,” bringing the day’s total to just over 70. Most of the tires were decades old, one still had its rim, and two giant tractor tires completed the pile.
Many thanks to all the volunteers for so much elbow grease and hard work; to Richard Barbor for hauling the tires off in his dump truck; and to the Springfield Transfer Station for accepting our tires as part of “civic cleanup” efforts. A special nod to Bitsy Biron for taking photos and to all who passed by these intrepid volunteers with a honk, a wave, and a smile.
The Black River Action Team celebrates 20 years of cleaning up local waterways, learning about the Black River, and discovering the joy and wonder of the world above, below, and on the surface. Director Kelly Stettner hopes folks will join the effort in the upcoming annual RiverSweep cleanup, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12.