CROSBY -- About 190 community volunteers turned out to clean up the Crosby mine pits, now the Cuyuna State Recreational Area, during the 16th annual mineland cleanup last week near Crosby.
"This year ranks in the top of all the clean-up projects we've had in the past 16 years," said Steve Weber, manager of the state recreation area.
Crosby-Ironton students represented the largest group of 112, thanks to the promotion of science teachers. Families, Boy Scouts Troop 100 and a church youth group from Aitkin joined Crosby area community members and employees of Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, Crow Wing Power and Mille Lacs Electric cooperatives, who sponsored the event.
A total of 4.5 tons of compacted trash, 49 tires and miscellaneous discarded items were removed from the minelands. Students reported diapers and fish remains were the most unpleasant finds, but broken down strollers, microwaves, tires, furniture, appliance parts and cans, bottles and other items were collected. Community volunteers drove to various problem areas and brought back truckloads of junk.
Char Kinzer of Crow Wing Power and Linda Weimer of Mille Lacs Electric coordinated the event this year as part of the cooperatives' GreenTouch program -- a three-year state park clean-up project sponsored by 40 Touchstone Energy cooperatives throughout the state.
Electric cooperative representatives said they were proud to be a part of this community volunteer project. "As local cooperatives, we live and work in the communities we serve. Employees and cooperative members seem more than willing to donate time to beautifying our environment," said Kinzer.
City and state officials worked to help remove debris. The cities of Ironton and Crosby volunteered the use of manpower and dump trucks and the DNR and state conservation office provided support.
Prizes were awarded to volunteers by various area businesses.
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