The volunteer powered, and member funded Wallkill River Watershed Alliance, (WRWA) performed a sweep of the area of the river between the Middletown boat launch on East Main Street, and Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Hamptonburgh last Sunday.
While a final count of the tires removed was not available prior to publication, there was an estimate of 72-tires to be dragged from the river at the onset. The pull began at 9 a.m. and was sponsored and aided in part by the Town of Wallkill and Orange County. Wallkill, represented at the event by public works commissioner Lou Ingrassia Jr., had a role to play in the final removal and handling of some of the tires.
“The town of Wallkill is going to retrieve the tires pulled by the volunteers in the area between the launch and the Goshen Turnpike Bridge,” Ingrassia said. “The volunteers have been instructed to pile the tires together on the east side of the bridge embankment and the town will retrieve and properly dispose of them early next week, probably Tuesday.”
Orange County has, according to Ingrassia, agreed to handle all tires gathered between the area’s after the bridge and the end at Thomas Pull Park.
The tires were initially spotted by WRWA member Archie Morris. “I was out on routine patrol,” Morris said. “I started seeing an odd flow and then I started seeing and counting the tires.”
In total, there were more than 10 boats, a mix of canoes and kayaks, as well as over 10-volunteers on hand at the 3-year old launch point on East Main Street in Middletown. The pull was organized in large part by WRWA member Arthur Cemelli, who also supplied some of the boats. John boats were also used to transport the tires.
If you would like more information on the WRWA, visit its website at, wallkillalliance.org, or email, email@example.com.
By Gary M. Ayd