Community volunteers collected approximately 8,600 pounds (4 tons) of debris as part of a modified version of Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake (TPISML) cleanup days, according to the final 2022 collection report released today.
Bill Butterfield, one of the event’s organizers, said the amount collected throughout the month of May fell short of 2021’s numbers. TPISML was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“We think an abundance of rainy weekends in May and the lingering pandemic contributed to lower collection numbers this year, but we’re still really pleased with the progress made toward cleaning up SML prior to the opening of the season,” said Butterfield, president of the Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA), which organizes the program in collaboration with the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission (TLAC) and the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC).
As in 2021, the TPISML committee relied on communities and homeowners/property owners associations to clean up their coves, along the shoreline, on the water or both. Neighborhood groups, businesses, civic organizations, families and individuals were also encouraged to join the effort by joining these groups or by planning their own clean-up events anytime in May. Supplies were provided, as were several commercial dumpsters. Each volunteer received a commemorative waterproof cell phone bag.
According to the report, 128 individuals collectively covered more than 25 miles of shoreline, filling 125 trash bags and hauling off a vast amount of loose debris. Items collected included plastic and glass bottles, beverage cans, plastic bags, food wrappers, lawn chairs, logs and tree branches.
“Our annual cleanup days are so important to the overall health, beauty and safety of Smith Mountain Lake,” said SMLRCC Executive Director Andy Bruns. “Many, many thanks to the awesome volunteers and amazing sponsors who make Take Pride in SML possible.”
Sponsors for 2022’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, Turner’s Dock Building, and The Windward Waterfront Lots and Custom Homes.