Minnesota 4 Wheel Drive Association and City of Belle Plaine Team Up With DNR to Remove Debris From Belle Plaine State Wayside

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Minnesota 4 Wheel Drive AssociationA cleanup of a former riverside salvage yard at North Cherry and West Forest streets in Belle Plaine will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Adopt-a-River DNR will facilitate the effort with the Minnesota 4 Wheel Drive Association (MN4WDA), working along with the city of Belle Plaine, Union Pacific Railroad, Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) and Scott County Community Corrections.

The cleanup is part of an ongoing effort to remove scrap and old tires from the 60-acre site, known officially as Belle Plaine State Wayside. In conjunction with state and local planning efforts, the site is slated to become a functional unit of the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area.

The cleanup, started in 1999, continues an effort stalled because of high waters and a washed-out railroad crossing on Cherry Street. Members of MN4WDA will support the Oct. 27 cleanup by donating their time, expertise and use of their own heavy equipment, which typically includes military trucks, skid loaders, custom-built 4×4 trucks with trailers and all-terrain vehicles. Most of their vehicles will have electric winches for pulling heavy objects out of difficult places.

The cleanup effort will involve nine dumpsters for removal of auto and truck parts, fuel-oil tanks and other assorted debris. In addition, hundreds of auto, truck and heavy-equipment tires will be retrieved.

The Belle Plaine City Council authorized repairs to the storm sewer system on Cherry Street. Equipment from Ag Power Enterprises and Fahey Sales of Belle Plaine will be on hand, as will equipment from Ziegler Caterpillar in Columbus, Minn. The scrap removal will be provided by the DNR. Many of the tires will be removed by MMCD.

The Adopt-a-River program encourages Minnesota volunteers to “adopt” a section of a lake, river, wetland, ditch or ravine to ensure its long-term health through annual cleanups. This will be the seventh time MN4WDA has assisted the Adopt-a-River program and the fourth time that they have assisted at this site. Other sites where MN4WDA has volunteered services include Minnesota Valley State Trail in Shakopee and Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Crosby Farm Regional Park, both in Saint Paul.

“It reminds us that our natural resources benefit greatly when the community at large embraces volunteer involvement,” said DNR Adopt-a-River Coordinator Paul Nordell.

For photos of past MN4WDA club cleanups, or for more information about the Adopt-a-River program, visitwww.dnr.state.mn.us/adoptariver.