RiverSweep – Three Decades of Cuyahoga River Valley Clean-Ups

Thanks to everyone who participated in the DIY RiverSweep on May 9, 2020. We are now preparing for a modified RiverSweep on Saturday, September 12, 2020 that adheres to the new realities of a global pandemic. 

We clean up to bring awareness to areas that will one day become a future trail and/or park. In 2019, 832 volunteers removed over 58 tons of trash, including 440  tires and went through 30 gallons of paint to cover up graffiti!

Over the course of 30 years 19,940 volunteers have helped us extract and recycle 24,757 illegally discarded tires and picked up for disposal 713 tons of trash. 

Volunteer for RiverSweep

We’ve modified to our registration and clean-up process this year to ensure COVID-19 guidelines outlined by the CDC and the State of Ohio are followed.  Here’s how it will work:

  • Each volunteer(s) will need to sign up online for their selected clean-up site and sign the volunteer waiver form electronically. We will be unable to accommodate walk-up volunteers the morning of RiverSweep. Individual site registration links will be posted shortly.
  • The morning of RiverSweep, volunteers will check-in at their selected site with the site leader or a Canalway Partners staff member.
  • Once online registration has been confirmed, volunteers will be given their own supplies which will include: latex gloves, garden gloves, plastic garbage bags, and a map of where they should clean. Oh, and you’ll also receive a cool RiverSweep themed bandana!
  • There will be a 9 a.m. start with a hard stop of 11 a.m. 
  • All volunteers must wear a mask. 
  • Volunteers will follow social distance practices during the cleanup – please spread out!  
  • All volunteers will work within a TEAM approach – no more than 10 people/TEAM. Bring your own team OR we will be glad to assign you to a TEAM.     
  • Each TEAM will be provided a map of the area they will clean.  
  • Unfortunately, due to the current CDC guidelines, we will be unable to host a thank you lunch after the event.

Individual site registration is now live and we will continue to keep you updated on any changes. For now, stay safe and healthy and we hope to see you in September!

The Clean Up Sites – If you or your group have questions about volunteering at a specific site listed below, please contact Julie Sciarrino at julie@canalwaypartners.com

Flats West Bank


Rivergate Park/Cuyahoga River: Cuyahoga River based clean up with members of Cleveland’s paddle community interfacing with the Port of Cleveland’s Flotsam and PHASTAR. 


Irishtown Bend


Columbus Rd./Carter Rd./Blue Bridge


Columbus Rd. Peninsula


W.25th/Franklin Ave.

Flats East Bank/Settler’s Landing


Train Avenue



W. 3rd St./Jefferson Ave.


W. 7th St./Quigley Rd.


West Creek:

Midtown Towers Apartments


Big Creek/Lower Harvard


Slavic Village:

Morgana Bluffs Nature Preserve: 


Mill Creek


Johnston Mill Run & Forestdale


RiverSweep only happens with a little help from our friends! To learn more, check out our video!

The Results of Decades of Hard Work

The impact of RiverSweep on the community is undeniable.  Within the Cuyahoga River watershed, new parks and trails have emerged in areas formerly targeted for illegal dumping. As a result, more than 400 acres of new greenspace have been cleaned, conserved and open to the public along with an additional 14 miles of trails. Our most recent example is Stage 3 of the Towpath Trail that runs 1.9 miles from the northern entrance of Steelyard Commons to Literary Avenue in Tremont, providing an important link between the populous Cleveland neighborhood, Tremont, the employment and retail center, Steelyard Commons, and the public outdoor recreation area, Clark Fields. Stage 3 is scheduled to be complete by spring 2019. Another example of greenspace is the Scranton Flats section of the Towpath Trail that consists of 11 acres along the Cuyahoga River that creates a new model for fish habitat restoration in an urban shipping channel.

New or expanded parks, trails and greenways have been created from RiverSweep sites. Click on the links below to learn more:

RiverSweep volunteers get a free t-shirt!