Breakheart annual cleanup seeks friends on Saturday

SAUGUS – The weather forecast for Saturday is dicey, but if tradition prevails, up to 100 volunteers will descend upon Breakheart Reservation for the annual spring cleanup of grounds and trails.Saturday is Park Serve Day statewide, when people demonstrate community service by helping get their favorite parks and reservations into shape. At Breakheart Reservation, which is operated under the auspices of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the cleanup is from 10 a.m. to noon.”For the last couple of years, we have had more than 50 but less than 100 volunteers of all ages come here for the cleanup. If the weather is good, we’ll have a big turnout,” said William Dalton, park supervisor at Breakheart. “Some people bring their kids so they can demonstrate what it means to give back.”According to Dalton, volunteers can help plant flowers and other plants, assist with applying mulch beds, raking and possibly help restore hiking trails. “We have the tools here, the rakes and shovels. The Friends of Breakheart Reservation will provide hotdogs and cold drinks,” he said. “We also hand out gloves, trash bags and bottled water. We’re trying to be as accommodating as possible. All the volunteers get to know each other. So if you love Breakheart Reservation, come help beautify it for a few hours.”Dalton noted parking is limited at the reservation, especially in front of the visitors’ center. If the spaces nearest the center are occupied, he recommended parking along the roadsides or in the back side of the Ocean State Job Lot and Target department store parking lots on the Lynn Fells Parkway at the bottom of Forest Street.Ed Murray, chairman of the Friends of Breakheart Reservation, said the cleanup is an open invitation to individuals, families and organized groups. “We’ll take anybody we can recruit,” he said. “In addition to planting flowers and mulching, we’ll be putting in a pumpkin patch.”Volunteers will be given a “vintage” Friends of Breakheart T-shirt from one of its past events, said Murray, adding, “If you pick up a bag of trash and hand it in, you get another shirt.”Volunteers are allowed to bring their dogs to the cleanup, but must pick up after them.”The dogs have become a real problem this year,” said Murray. “Owners have to pick up after them. We even supply the bags.”Open year round, Breakheart Reservation encompasses 640 acres, highlighted by winding pedestrian walking roads, rugged hiking trails, thick woods and two lakes.”The idea is simple. Just come up here for the day and do something good for the reservation. If you do, we feed you hot dogs and chips. Nothing fancy, but it’s lunch.”Dalton said volunteers should wear boots or sturdy shoes and clothing they understand could be ruined.For more information about the cleanup, call the reservation office at 781-233-0834.

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