It looked more like a dump than a lakeshore.
Along the edge of the receded waters of Lake Lanier, countless half-buried cans, bottles and other discarded debris lined the banks in a mud-caked testament to man’s capacity to litter.
"It’s disgraceful, is what it is," said Michael Curtis of Lawrenceville, one of about a dozen volunteers who came to a cove where Flat Creek runs into the northeastern portion of the lake Saturday morning to pick up trash.
In these remote reaches of the lake, the garbage may be even heavier than other portions of the drought-stricken shoreline. Volunteers theorized that much of the refuse may have found its way here not from boaters but from the trash discarded into Flat Creek.
Either way, there was plenty to pick up, including plastic patio chairs, flip-flops, foam footballs and soccer balls. Not to mention beer can after beer can after beer can.
The beer cans, in fact, outnumbered the soft drink cans by a wide margin, neighborhood resident Jim Nearing reckoned.
Nearing, 71, moved onto the lake in 1996. He sees the drought that has beached boat docks and exposed the lake’s litter as a good thing, in one respect.
"This cloud’s got a silver lining," Nearing said. "It gives us an opportunity to pick up decades of trash. So when the lake comes back, we’ll be in a lot better shape."
Curtis brought his 12-year-old son to help, earning him credit toward a Boy Scout patch. Together they found perhaps the oldest artifact of the day: a can of Schlitz, vintage 1969.
"We drink from this lake, so it might be nice if it was clean," Curtis said.
Higher up the banks, decidedly un-beach-like garbage was strewn among the sand and thickets, including a 13-inch television, a bottle of nasal spray, a can of bug killer, a large comb and a stick of deodorant.
"I cannot believe how much trash is out here," said Dawn Hamer, who brought her 12-year-old son, Ryan Sweeney, along to earn credit for his Beta Club.
Sweeney found bottles, basketballs and plastic wrappers by the dozens.
"I can’t believe people would just throw this stuff here," Sweeney said.
Saturday’s work filled dozens of heavy-duty trash bags, but plenty of work remains.
Cleanup organizer Vic Dube, who lives just a few houses down from the cove, said: "We’ll be down here every few days picking up stuff. The water’s not coming up for a while."Please see shore, Page 2B