The South Porcupine Lions Club teamed up with more than 30 students from Roland Michener Secondary School, including the principal and several teachers, as well as members from the Gold Miners Daughters' roller derby team, to clean up the stretch of highway, reaching from the flags in Schumacher all the way to the Ontario Provincial Police detachment.
The dark rain clouds that hung overhead did little to stop the posse from beautifying the highly-used stretch of highway.
â€œThis is a beautiful country,â€ said George Cribbs, who organized the mission and functions as the Lions Club secretary. â€œI've lived in this area for about 40 years now and I enjoy it very much. My hope is my granddaughter will love it as much as I do. Nobody loves a garbage pit, so we're doing our best to keep it clean and pristine because it's worth it. It's a beautiful land and unfortunately many people just throw garbage out of their vehicles.â€
For 19 years, the Lions Club and RMSS have teamed up twice a year â€” in the spring and fall â€” to clean the ditches that frame highway.
It began as a community project in response to an obvious need in the area, explained Cribbs, who has been involved with the project since the beginning, when he used to teach at the high school.
â€œIt's a good way to get our school out in the community,â€ said Sarah Carello, who is in Grade 10 and attends RMSS. â€œAt first, it doesn't seem like there is a lot, but there is.â€
She explained how the opportunity has allowed her to connect with people from RMSS whom she wouldn't normally have.
Over the years, the clean up crew has encountered various objects along the road.
Some were not so surprising, like mufflers and hub caps, while others were a little odd, such as unopened microwaveable meals and a love seat.
â€œThe very first time we were out here, we found a love seat close to where the transfer site is, but it wasn't it in the ditch,â€ said Cribbs. â€œIt was some yards past the ditch. How it got there, I don't know, but it was upright and there was grass growing all around it. It was before the tree line and you could easily sit on it.â€
The team is expecting to have between 80-90 garbage bags full when it is all said and done.
Following the clean up, the Lions Club will donate about $400 to the RMSS student council.
â€œWe couldn't do this without the help of the community,â€ said Cribbs. â€œTisdale Plumbing has donated a truck to help us pick up all the garbage bags, while Tim Hortons has provided drinks and donuts.â€