When I arrived on a brisk September morning at James A. Bible Park, I assumed I was going to be the only one there for the trail cleanup. Reaching up to a balmy and shady 45 degrees by 9:00 AM, I was surprised to find three volunteers who had done the Conservancy’s cleanup the past month had come out.

Over the course of three hours, we cleaned up a significant portion of the canal and trail (about 1.5 miles), finding pounds upon pounds of trash, as seen in the featured image above, and recycling the various car wheels and larger recyclables that popped up throughout the trail and canal.

High Line Canal Trail clean-up volunteers
High Line Canal Trail clean-up volunteers
Images above: 1.) A volunteer throws away a trash bag of materials collected from the High Line Canal Trail. 2.) Volunteers pose after the clean-up.

While the amount of people that participated in the clean up that day was fairly small, the enthusiasm of the volunteers was something to be reckoned with. People use the High Line Canal trail as an alternative to driving by getting around as pedestrians and cyclists, including myself. As we rapidly picked up trash from the canal and the surrounding trail system, the volunteers reminisced about times that they had walked their dogs through the canal, had a leisurely stroll before sunset, or gone on a mid-paced bike ride. To them, the canal was an escape from the rigors of single occupancy vehicle travel, and a way to enjoy all that urbanism has to offer in a slightly unconventional way.

Image above: A group of live action role players (LARP’ers) near the High Line Canal Trail.

Even if that unconventional way means dressing up as medieval knights and participating in live action role playing.