Mantua – Special events and opportunities abounded as communities along Cuyahoga River celebrated River Day. From Cleveland to points further south, communities and organizations hosted river and trail cleanups and events that encouraged families to experience art and nature. The local River Day observance in Mantua featured a bit of all those things.
Breakaway Excursions, a new adventure-outfitter in Mantua, helped organize the activities. Together with Mantaline, Portage Parks, Oscar Brugmann Sand & Gravel, and the DMRC, they hosted a river and trail cleanup event along the Cuyahoga River and the nearby portion of the Headwaters Trail in Mantua Village.
Pam Holliday of Breakaway Excursions shared, “ As we ran the river last summer, we recognized the great potential the river has to make Mantua a wonderful scenic attraction. We also noticed the river needed some help to make it safer for paddlers.”
Doug Hershman and Pam Holliday of Breakaway Excursions, mobilized volunteers, dividing the 40 plus adults and children into three teams of paddlers for river clean up at drop points along the river. Another group of over 40 volunteers from Mantaline Corporation, whose headquarters is adjacent to the river, pitched in to repair or replace fence posts and rails along the Headwaters Trail.
During the event, Hershman shared that his adventure-based business currently offers archery, canoe, and kayak opportunities, and plans to add bike and snowshoe rentals once their Mantua location is operational. The company will operate out of the Old Granary building near the park. Holliday continued, “Now that we’ve joined the Mantua community, we wanted to do our part to help clean up this wonderful resource.”
Leading the river cleanup crews were three crew members from L.L.Bean at Legacy Village: Greg Findley, Darren Bruden, and L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School instructor Kevin Parker. “I love when I get a chance to get out and do things like this on the water,” Parker shared. L.L. Bean will be offering kayaking and paddleboard instruction at LaDue reservoir this summer.
Before kayakers loaded their gear and headed out, employees and families from Mantaline headed to the Headwaters parking lot and trailhead to get to work. Over the course of the morning, in addition to repairing and replacing split rail fence posts and rails, the industrious group spread 40 tons of donated gravel and 16 yards of mulch to beautify the parking lot and trailhead. According to David Little, responsible for Mantaline’s Global Purchasing, Continuous Improvements & Sustainability efforts, the event was a success. We were pleased to have roughly one-quarter of our employees come out today to help.”
In addition to trail cleanup, the company procured five new metal barrels which were converted to recycling receptacles. As a part of the event, families helped paint the containers, four of which will be used at Buchert Park. One recycling barrel will be used in the Mantaline break room , a decorative memento of the day’s events.
Gary Watters, from Mantaline, was happy to help at River Day. “It’s really cool, because I live here. This is my park.” Due, in part to this success, Little is working on a program to offer employees the chance to participate in an employer-paid day of giving within the local community. “Activities like this help our employees become agents of change within their own community,” Little marveled.
Other sponsors of this year’s event included Jake’s, Mantua Station Drug Company, the Chilling Station, Frost Glass, Stamm Contracting, and the Village of Mantua.