Despite cloudy skies this weekend and at times, frigid weather, local volunteers headed out to areas on or near the canal waterfront to clear trash for the coming of spring.
On Sunday morning, a small group of locals convened at Jumpin' Jack's Drive-In to clean up the waterfront of the Mohawk River.
Sunday's participants were members of the Scotia-based U.S. Water Ski Show team. The group chose this spot because this stretch of the river is where the squad performs starting at the end of May.
Sara Pritchard, who organized the Scotia clean up and serves as the treasurer of the club, said the drive-in works closely with the club each year while they clean up the area.
Large garbage bags filled with paper trash were being filled on the riverside. Pritchard said a lot of the trash that's in the river or on the shore flies from trash cans in the neighborhood.
"It's a lot of paper straws, napkins and paper plates that fly away," she said.
The canal sweep this weekend had more than 50 cleaning events, stretching from Tonawanda to Fort Ann. In the Capital Region, volunteers in Glens Falls, Schuylerville, Clifton Park, Schenectady, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Adam Parisi, who is also on the board of water-skiing show team, was also cleaning the riverfront. He said the river, as far as trash goes, looked better this year than it has in past years.
"It's pretty clean this year," he said.
In past years, the riverfront and waters have been flooded with debris, especially in 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit and waters were high. Sometimes, larger items, like lawn chairs are found floating in the river during their annual cleaning as well. The hurricane also set back skiing season that year, Pritchard said.
Sunday's cleanup was extensive, but the group will continue to clean periodically prior to the summer schedule of water skiing event on Tuesday evenings. Cleaning Jumpin' Jacks is a valuable and important effort, Pritchard said, because it's a popular and well-loved destination not just to Scotia, but to the greater Schenectady region.
"It's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun once it's going. There is a job for everybody," Pritchard said.
The Scotia effort at Jumpin' Jacks was part of a larger cleanup effort occurring Saturday and Sunday throughout the Capital Region.
Each year, in honor of Earth Day, the New York State Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails New York host Canal Clean Sweep, a day of spring cleaning on sections of the Canalway Trail, in canal side parks, along the Mohawk River and in other public areas throughout the canal corridor.
Organizers of cleaning events can submit photos of their strange canal finds, which have included furniture, statues, twisted metal and hundreds of pounds of trash.For the clean sweep, people are encouraged to gather groups of people, pick a section to clean and pick a date to clean.