Fort McHenry asks for help in cleanup Storm debris collects on nearby state land

September 12, 1996|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF

Fort McHenry officials are appealing to the public and local businesses for help in cleaning up a 150-yard-long pile of debris in a state-owned marsh bordering the national park.

Debris long has been a problem in the marsh, but storms and flooding in the past week have created the largest, most unsightly pile, officials said.

Greg McGuire, the fort's facilities manager, said yesterday he asked the state government to help with the cleanup, but he was told that the cost -- estimated at a quarter of a million dollars -- is prohibitive. He has had little success in attracting the help of nonprofit environmental groups.

"We're just trying to find someone who has a creative idea," Chief Ranger Rick Nolan said. "We also would like to develop a system where it won't happen again."

Only a few joggers came by the pile yesterday. From a distance, it looks like a tiny multicolored mountain range, hugging the land where the marsh meets drier South Baltimore soil. The pile includes plastic foam, wood, broken glass and tires.

The marsh is below the fort's sea wall on the property's southwestern corner, near a historic ammunitions building.

McGuire said he worries that the debris will be spread along the rest of the South Baltimore coastline if it is not removed before the water level rises again.

"If we could take care of it now, that would be best," McGuire said. "The challenge is to find someone that would help us out."

Pub Date: 9/12/96

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