In its 28th year, the Great Lake Allatoona Clean Up aims to beautify and protect the 270 miles of shore the lake covers. The cleanup is considered the largest event of its kind nationwide, said Carole Miller, volunteer for the cleanup.
More than 4,133 volunteers pulled 299 tires and 5 tons of trash out of the lake last year.
Volunteers are expected to turn out in droves again this weekend, Miller said. The cleanup will target 40 different areas around the lake and will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. An appreciation lunch will follow at Riverside Day Use Park, 512 Lake Allatoona Dam Road, Cartersville.
Online registration is requested at www.lakeallatoonaassoc.com.
Since it started almost 30 years ago, awareness has grown and less trash has made its way into the lake, said Aaron Feldt, a chairman of the cleanup committee for the Lake Allatoona Association that sponsors the event.
The event attracts volunteers from outside metro Atlanta, said Jon LaVie, a district commissioner with the Boy Scouts of America. Boy Scouts make up a large portion of the cleanup’s participants.
“We have had people come in from as far away as Lilburn, south Atlanta and Chattanooga,” LaVie said.
A lot of the draw for the Boy Scouts, LaVie said, is promoting awareness.
“The biggest thing we hope they take away is a sense of ownership about the environment,” he said.
Youth volunteers leave knowing where their drinking water comes from and the impact the lake has on the community.
“It’s an important learning lesson for them,” LaVie said. “We make it a little bit of an adventure with a prize for finding the strangest trash.”
And strange trash abounds, Miller said.
“We have over the years found lots of weird things,” she said.
Lawn furniture, a toilet and a sofa have all been found at the lake.
At the end of the day, Miller said, the event is just as much about community spirit as it is about the environment.
“The lake brings in lots and lots of money to the area,” Miller said. “People buy land and build houses and buy houses around the lake because of the beauty the lake offers.”