This strip of land looked far different in 1640.

There were no bottles and cans or other debris on the riverbank when English settlers landed in Haverhill 381 years ago.

But problems of modern society — including camps along the Merrimack River created by homeless people — have scarred the spot where the settlers arrived. Haverhill's First Landing Park, which marks that historic event, has been sitting next to a littered landscape in recent years.

Enter the Clean River Project.

The Methuen-based organization, which has made a name for itself by removing all kinds of debris from the river and its banks in Merrimack Valley communities, was at it again Tuesday.

Clean River leader Rocky Morrison and other workers from the group removed truckloads of debris from the river's edge near First Landing Park and spots on the Bradford side of the river.

 

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