The Mill Creek Marsh trail system in Secaucus opened last week after a considerable amount of clean-up by work crews and volunteers to remove debris left behind in Hurricane Sandy’s wake. The walking trail and adjacent wetlands had been closed for the past month due to damage incurred from the storm.
Before that, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) and the Bergen County Audubon Society co-hosted a clean-up that drew 32 volunteers who dedicated two hours to clear the debris that had been swept up onto the trails. The 207-acre marsh and park had several downed trees in addition to “wrack,” or dead-Phragmites debris, blocking paths.
“The volunteers cleaned up the marsh and the trails with tender loving care,” said Jim Wright, NJMC communications officer. “People love that marsh…they can’t wait to get back on those trails.”
“People love that marsh.” – Jim Wright
“People just want to help out,” said Wright.
He noted that the volunteers fished out interesting “stuff” such as three coconuts, but one of the most interesting finds was a strange looking doll and doll leg from the clean-up in Harrier Meadow in North Arlington.
Wright added that many of the colorful tree swallow bird nest boxes at Mill Creek Marsh were knocked down. The boxes were placed there by Secaucus students.
He cautions them to “use stronger nails in the future.”
The next clean-up is planned for DeKorte Park in nearby Lyndhurst on Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants must wear work gloves and protective clothing and footwear and sign a liability release. The Meadowlands Commission will provide coffee and doughnuts to volunteers.
The NJMC estimates that their parks sustained over $2 million worth of damage. Of that, the temporary fixes to get Mill Creek Marsh reopened cost approximately $10,000. However, complete restoration, including planting new trees and trail fortification, will exceed more than $100,000.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.