Community volunteers collected approximately 84,000 pounds (42 tons) of debris as part of Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake cleanup days, according to the final 2019 collection report.
According to Lorie Smith, one of the event’s organizers, the amount is nearly double what was collected last year.
“We got an earlier start on planning and increased our marketing efforts, which really help build awareness for how important these annual cleanup days are to the overall health, beauty and safety of our lake,” said Smith, president of the Smith Mountain Lake Association, which organizes the program in collaboration with the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce and Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission (TLAC).
“The heavy rainfall we experienced over the winter and spring made this year’s efforts even more essential,” Smith said. “We put the call out for volunteers early and the Smith Mountain Lake community really stepped up.”
According to the report, 326 individuals participated in Take Pride in SML (a 32% increase over 2018). There were 50 registered events throughout May at various locations around the lake, including Crazy Horse Marina, Magnum Point Marina, Hardy Ford Boat Ramp, Westlake Waterfront Inn at Indian Point Marina, the David and Steve Byrd Boat Ramp, and the Pleasure Point Ramp. All volunteers received free gloves, trash bags and a commemorative t-shirt and were invited to a post-event celebration at Mango’s Bar and Grill.
Debris collected along approximately 101 miles of shoreline included plastic and glass bottles, beverage cans, plastic bags, tires and food wrappers and containers. Paula Shoffner, TLAC’s Executive Director, said the most unusual items collected this year included dock furniture, a full-sized grill and a mega flamingo blowup float.
Sponsors for 2019’s Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake initiative included American Electric Power, Western Virginia Water Authority, Berkshire Hathaway Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate, Capps Home Building Center, Glenda McDaniel – Long & Foster Real Estate, Turner’s Dock Building, and The Windward Waterfront Lots and Custom Homes.
“Without the support of these businesses, there would be no Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake,” Shoffner said. “We are so incredibly thankful for their long-standing support, as well as the dedication and hard work of the organizing committee and all who participated.”