25th Lake Lanier Shore Sweep
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Aqualand, Bald Ridge, Gainesville, Habersham, Holiday, Lanier Harbor, Port Royale and Sunrise Cove marinas, Lake Lanier Islands and Clarks Bridge and War Hill parks
Volunteer instructions: Volunteers report to a participating location for shoreline area assignment and supply pickup
Lake Lanier Association and numerous volunteers are readying themselves to tackle the trash polluting Lake Lanier and its shoreline.
This year’s Shore Sweep will be the 25th for the association, a Gainesville based nonprofit established to protect the lake.
Many locations along Lanier are participating, including Aqualand, Bald Ridge, Gainesville, Habersham, Holiday, Lanier Harbor, Port Royale and Sunrise Cove marinas, Lake Lanier Islands and Clarks Bridge and War Hill parks.
This will be the fourth Shore Sweep for the association's executive director, Joanna Cloud, who is hoping Saturday’s forecast of sunny weather will lead to a good turnout.
“We usually get at least 1,000 volunteers,” she said, “and it’s supposed to be a really nice day.”
The pleasant temperatures and sunshine predicted are a substantial change from the months of rain earlier this year.
Heavy downpours from the spring and summer have added a considerable amount of water to the lake.
Cloud mentioned that several people had asked whether or not the event would be delayed, citing the higher lake level as a concern.
“I told them, ‘no,’” she said, laughing. “This is where the lake is supposed to be — we are at full pool. This is where we want the lake to be, and we are hoping this is our new normal,” she added.
That’s not to say the current state of Lanier won’t have an effect on the cleanup.
“This year will be interesting because even though we don’t have a lot of, or as much, exposed shoreline, there’s been a ton of stuff that’s washed in from back in the coves and some of the more murky areas,” Cloud said.
The trash is still out there, she said Accessing where it is will be different due to the rains washing things in and moving debris around.
Debris includes more than the occasional beer can or plastic cup from an evening cookout on the lake’s shore.
“We have a little bit of everything,” Cloud said. “Some of it is small stuff, like cups and cans,” she added, “but we’ve found some crazy stuff ... TVs, rocking horses, bathing suits, pieces of docks, big chunks of Styrofoam — you can imagine. You’ve got 8 million people recreating on a lake every year.”
Cloud said on average, volunteers at Shore Sweep bring in 30 tons of trash every year.
The Shore Sweep Event will take place 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Volunteers are asked to report to a participating location in order to receive instructions for a shoreline area assignment, as well as to pick up trash bags and other supplies.
Those who collect at least one full bag of trash will receive a T-shirt.
Those interested in volunteering can notify Lake Lanier Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found at the organization’s website, lakelanier.org or by calling 770-503-7757.