500 help clear debris from beach Kent Island project part of statewide post-flooding cleanup

April 21, 1996|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,SUN STAFF

Volunteers cleared tons of debris from a Kent Island beach yesterday in what state officials hope will be a continuing effort to clean up the mess left by this year's post-blizzard floods.

Terrapin Beach was transformed from an eyesore to a relatively clear piece of shoreline by approximately 500 volunteers, including Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who hauled away logs, sticks and tree trunks beached by wind, waves and tidal forces.

"I don't mind my hands getting calloused," said Chris Rasmann, 24, who left his home in Harmans at 4: 30 a.m. to join the cleanup."Hopefully it's going to be worth it when we're done."

Volunteers cleaned the beach near the eastern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge -- estimated to have 3,000 tons of debris -- for nearly four hours.

Statewide, more than 150,000 tons of debris are littering shorelines or floating in the waters of the Chesapeake and its tributaries. Much of it was left by floodwaters after the winter's heavy snows.

Last week, Governor Glendening urged people to create local cleanup campaigns to rid the shoreline of potentially dangerous debris. Police with Maryland's Department of Natural Resources are warning boaters to be extremely careful this season, noting that partially submerged timbers can smash propellers, bore holes in boat hulls and cause other damage to vessels.

If the debris is not cleared away from the beaches, it could be blown out to sea again, posing more threats to boaters, police said.

The heavy lifting didn't bother many volunteers.

"This isn't a whole lot different from what I'd normally be doing on a Saturday," said David Treasure, 49, a budget examiner with the state Department of Budgeting and Fiscal Planning. "I'm usually cleaning up something -- but not on a beach."

Also joining the effort were more than 80 members of the Maryland National Guard Youth Corps, members of a program that helps at-risk teen-agers get jobs and high school diplomas. The youths, who marched onto the beach shouting military chants, got credits toward graduation from the program in exchange for their volunteer work.

"It's nice out here -- just being outside," said Andre Johnson, 18, as he hauled logs from the water's edge. "Plus, I like it for the physical training."

Pub Date: 4/21/96

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