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Illinois hunting and fishing

Scott Hewitt looks through illegally dumped trash for identifying information.

Fly dumpers hit again - right before river cleanup

September 14, 2011 at 09:08 AM

The State Journal-Register

Someone dumped a truckload of trash late last week on the very spot where Saturday’s Sangamon River cleanup is supposed to start.

So much garbage was strewn across the dirt driveway that it blocked access to the canoe launch on Irwin Bridge Road.

Illinois hunting and fishing

The irony was not lost on Scott Hewitt.

Hewitt is coordinating the river cleanup, part of “It’s Our River Day” activities statewide.

He also operates Lincoln’s New Salem Canoe Rental based in Petersburg. He was taking a couple out to launch their canoe Sunday.

“She said, ‘Oh my God,’ about 10 times,” Hewitt said of one canoeist’s reaction to seeing the trash. “We ended up having to launch further downstream.”

Monday morning, a crew from Gardner Township was at the launch to clean up the pile.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Before it was taken away, Hewitt was able to find some identifying information in the trash, including a name and address on prescription medication and a child’s homework papers.

He passed the information on to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police.

There was no word Monday on whether or not there was sufficient information gleaned from the trash pile to build a case against the fly-dumpers, said DNR spokesman Chris McCloud.

Less than a quarter-mile away, more trash was found — about three households’ worth.

Trash included dirty diapers, household items and clothes.

Most of it had been burned, including one pile underneath an oak tree that was severely scorched by the fire.

Illinois hunting and fishing

“It was still smoldering,” said Ray Grubb with Gardner Township. “The stuff was still hot. They must have tried to burn it last night.”

Grubb had the dirty, dusty job of shoveling the burned trash into the bucket of an end-loader driven by Roger Smith.

“It’s just sheer ignorance,” Grubb said. “It’s too bad the vast minority can make such a big difference.”

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.

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