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Shore Sweep to tackle Lake Lanier cleanup
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

* What: Shore Sweep

* When: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 27

* Where: Bald Ridge Marina, Port Royale Marina, War Hill Park, Gwinnett Park, Aqualand Marina, Clarks Bridge Park, Gainesville Marina, Holiday Marina, Lake Lanier Islands, Sunrise Cove Marina

* More info: lakelanier.org/shore-sweep

GAINESVILLE — Millions enjoy Lake Lanier each year, and lake groups want those visitors to return the favor with some litter cleanup.

This year’s Shore Sweep is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 27, with drop-off points at marinas across the lake in Forsyth, Hall, Dawson and Gwinnett counties.

“We typically get 1,000 volunteers on the day of the event,” said Joanna Cloud, a Forsyth resident and executive director of the Lake Lanier Association, which puts on the event.

Volunteers include groups such as the Boy Scouts and Rotary Club as well as other local residents.

The purpose of the effort is to clean the lake and its shores, but also to raise awareness of the damage littering causes.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable — car parts, tires, couches, refrigerators, televisions,” said Kelly Norman, executive director of Keep Hall Beautiful, which will captain the Clarks Bridge Park site.

Littering doesn’t only ruin the pristine appearance of Lanier; it has many other effects, like putting residents and visitors in physical danger.

“A lot of stuff we pull out [of the lake] are boards with nails in it or pieces of docks that are metal,” Cloud said. Littering puts animals in danger, too.

Gainesville Marina participates every year.

“We like to try to make the lake as safe as possible for everyone to swim in and enjoy,” said CJ Denning, event coordinator at the Gainesville Marina. “It’s a beautiful lake, and we’d like to keep it that way.”

Not only do volunteers scour the shore, but many also search the lake’s deep waters.

“We have gotten refrigerators and couches before,” Denning said.

“I can’t figure out how anybody would throw a refrigerator into the lake.”

Denning said she and other staff enjoy the ducks that visit their marina.

“We’ve got a lot of ducks here. We feed them and take care of them,” Denning said. “They get tangled in bags and things.”

Norman added that the amount of litter that shows up on the shore has significantly dropped over the years.

“We’re working diligently to bring about awareness and understanding about the effects of littering and dumping, and we’re noticing a much bigger participation rate and understanding that it takes all of us to become involved in order to eradicate this problem,” Norman said.

On the day of the event, volunteers will report to a marina to get trash bags and will be told where to begin.

After each person finishes, he or she will report back to the marina, where those who have picked up a bag’s worth of trash will receive a free T-shirt.

“It doesn’t take long,” Denning said. “If everybody does it from 30 minutes to an hour — even if they just covered a half of a mile or a fourth of a mile, around their house — everything helps.”

The organization asks that volunteers survey the shoreline in advance, map areas with debris and return the map by Friday.

For more information, contact Joanna Cloud at jcloud@lakelanier.org.