Wissahickon Valley Park is always in need of friends to help keep it clean and beautiful. Consider becoming a hero by organizing your own independent clean-up!
The Wissahero Program was launched in 2020, during the early days of of the covid-19 lockdown. At that time, this was one of the only stewardship options we could offer. The initiative proved to be extremely successful, and continues through to this day.
In 2023 alone, Wissaheroes removed almost 4,000 pounds of litter from the forests and creeks in and around Wissahickon Valley Park, ensuring a cleaner and healthier habitat and watershed.
Becoming a Wissahero is a great way to make a positive impact on the park while playing an important role in the community. The best part about taking part in this program is how easy it is to build into your own schedule – literally any hike can be turned into an act of stewardship! Check out the instructions below to learn how to plan a safe and successful clean-up!
- Fill out our online Volunteer Agreement & Release form
- If you are organizing a group for park service, plan to attend one of our many Volunteer Service Days or by scheduling a private service project. Contact our Volunteer Program Coordinator, Amelia Marren, for more information: email@example.com
- Make sure that you bring the appropriate gear on the day of the clean-up: gloves, black heavy-duty trash bags, water bottle, hand sanitizer, and a first-aid kit.
- When you have filled a bag with litter, please place the bag next to any trash receptacle for pick-up. Putting the bag inside the bin minimizes the space for other park trash and leads to overflow.
- Fill out the Trash Clean-Up Report within 24 hours. Not only does this tell us how many bags and volunteer hours to record for you, but also indicates to us that trash bags need to be picked up.
CLICK ON THE BOXES BELOW AND READ MORE ABOUT AREAS IN NEED OF A CLEAN-UP, AND TIPS FOR SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL CLEAN-UP.
RECOMMENDED CLEAN-UP LOCATIONS
These are the primary locations that need regular clean-ups, which includes information on where filled trash bags can be left. Check out this map to see each location.
Clean-up areas: The parking area, Harper’s Meadow, and along the creek.
Trash bags can be left: next to a trash can at the start of Forbidden Drive
BELLS MILL PARKING LOTS
Clean-up areas: The parking areas on either side of the creek, and the nearby creek embankments.
Trash bags can be left: next to a trash can in the parking areas
Clean-up areas: The picnic area and rock outcropping near the dam, north of Wises’s Mill Road on Forbidden Drive.
Trash bags can be left: next to a trash can in the picnic area
VALLEY GREEN ROAD UPPER PARKING LOT
Clean-up areas: The upper parking lot on Valley Green Road, and the tributary next to the lot.
Trash bags can be left: by the trash can next to kiosk
VALLEY GREEN INN PARKING LOTS & PICNIC AREA
Clean-up areas: The parking lots on either side of the Valley Green bridge, the picnic area next to the creek just downstream from the inn, next to the creek near the bridge.
Trash bags can be left: by the trash can across from the old white guard shed
Clean-up areas: the orange trail leading up to Devil’s Pool, Devil’s Pool proper, next to
Wissahickon Creek at Devil’s Pool, the areas that overlook the pool.
Trash bags can be left: There is no collection at Devil’s Pool, so they need to be carried out and left at the bottom of Livezy Lane (next to Glen Fern) next to the trash cans. If you are unable to carry them out, notify us so we can arrange staff or volunteers to carry them out.
GORGAS ACCESS ROAD
Clean-up areas: along the Gorgas Creek, and the areas beneath the Henry Avenue bridge.
Trash bags can be left: next to the trash can at the trailhead.
KITCHEN’S LANE BRIDGE
Clean-up areas: the parking area at the trailhead, the rocky beach area just downstream from the bridge.
Trash bags can be left: next to the trash can in the parking lot.
HISTORIC RITTENHOUSE TOWN
Clean-up areas: the parking area along Lincoln Drive and the embankment that leads down to the creek.
Trash bags can be left: next to kiosk/trash cans
BIKE PATH – TEN BOX TO HENRY AVENUE
Clean-up areas: the parking area at Ten Box, alongside the creek just downstream from Lincoln Drive before the small bridge that crosses the creek. People often picnic there and do not clean up.
Trash bags can be left: next to the trash cans at the Ten Box parking lot
BIKE PATH – HENRY AVENUE TO RIDGE AVENUE
Clean-up areas: along the creek/bike path, around the kiosk on Ridge Avenue
Trash bags can be left: next to the cans at Ridge Avenue
FORBIDDEN DRIVE WALKING CLEAN-UP
Clean-up areas: all along Forbidden Drive, particular around popular locations like the Red Covered Bridge, Rex Avenue Bridge, Blue Stone Bridge
Trash bags can be left: next to any trash can on Forbidden Drive
TIPS FOR A SAFE & SUCCESSFUL CLEAN-UP
We highly recommend not going out alone. Recruit folks that you know and are comfortable volunteering with! Send them the online volunteer agreement & release form.
Cleaning trash can be a grueling task, especially in the hot, humid days of summer. Be sure to stop often to take breaks and drink plenty of water. Pace yourself and know your comfort levels – carrying trash bags to the drop-off locations can be especially tiring, so keep that in mind when you’re filling the bags. Only fill the bags halfway so that they are a manageable weight. If you find yourself unable to carry the filled bags to the designated drop-off location (such as at Devil’s Pool), that is OK. Just let us know ASAP so that we can make arrangements to have the bags carried out.
When carrying bags to the drop-off location, don’t sling it over your shoulder. Doing so increases your chances of being punctured by sharp objects, and you definitely don’t want trash liquids on your clothes.
Always wear gloves and utilize trash grabbers if you have them. The large majority of trash you’re likely to be picking up will be bottles, cans, and food wrappers. Some of the trash, however, might be a bit grosser, such as diapers, rotten food, hygiene products. Always remember that you are not required to do anything you are not comfortable with, which includes picking up soiled items.
Finding hypodermic needles in the park is very rare, but sometimes does happen. Please exercise strict caution if you locate any. The best method for removal is to open up a plastic bottle (which you’ll likely find when cleaning trash) and set it on the ground with the opening on top. Use the trash grabber to pick up the needle and place it in the bottle. DO NOT put your hands anywhere near the exposed needle, even to hold the bottle. Put the cap back on the bottle and place it in a trash bag.
Please remember to fill out the Trash Clean-Up Report within 24 hours. Not only does this tell us how many bags and volunteer hours to record for you, but also indicates to us that trash bags need to be picked up.
NOT ABLE TO VOLUNTEER?
If you’re not able to get out into the park and volunteer, consider donating or becoming a member to support our stewardship mission.