Volunteers clean area of 'The Flats' in Zerbe Township
ZERBE TOWNSHIP - The cleanup started early Saturday, and by noon the 30-yard roll-off Dumpster was filled to the brim with construction debris, mattresses, burned-out sofas, swimming pool liners, carpeting, beer cans, bottles, old shoes and just about anything else you could think of that was discarded at "The Flats."
Forty volunteers showed up at the cleanup, which was hosted by Reading Anthracite Company and local ATV riders. Volunteers came from as far east as Staten Island, N.Y., and as far south as Philadelphia.
"You would be surprised," Brian Dasch said of what was found. "You couldn't walk four feet without running into garbage."
Dasch was one of the cleanup organizers, along with Dennis Felty, recording secretary of the Anthracite Trail Riders organization.
The group also cleared out more than 20 fire pits across approximately 15 to 20 acres. Dasch said that volunteers removed the ready-made fire pits in hopes of discouraging people from burning on the property.
Felty said the garbage that was strewn about the property represented "years of abuse."
"We are trying to take accountability for our off-road community." Felty said, adding that the day's ground effort was "phenomenal."
Felty's son, Jonathan, owner and operator of Felty Property Maintenance, was contracted by the Reading Anthracite Company to provide two dump trucks and a skid loader that were used in the cleanup.
Felty hopes this will be a "once and done" cleanup and that with periodic security from Reading they will only have to maintain "The Flats," which is a designated parking area for riders.
"We don't want to have to do this again," he said.
Felty and Dasch expressed appreciation for the cooperation they received from Zerbe Township, the community and local businesses that contributed in one way or another to the cleanup, including Dal's Pizza, Sunoco, Dollar General, DeSantis Distributor and Dunkin Donuts in Shamokin, among others.
After the cleanup, volunteers were given a free ATV tour of Coal Hill and the surrounding Reading property.