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Oct. 17, 2019
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Shore Sweep sets new record for volunteers

By Pamela A. Keene
 
As boaters and jet skiers brought trash to University Yacht Club's ramp during Shore Sweep, Lu Treadway hit the nail on the head.
 
“How can people live on this lake and boat on this lake and not take five hours one day a year to help out with Shore Sweep?” she said. “And then, come to think about it, a lot of the trash and garbage collected at Shore Sweep could be avoided all together if everyone would just do their part all year long, collecting debris when they see it or making sure their own garbage is properly disposed of.”
 
For the past 31 years, the Lake Lanier Association has sponsored Shore Sweep, a fall lake cleanup that has netted more than 1,000 tons of trash, garbage, debris, Styrofoam, dock floats, small abandoned boats, parts of private docks, soaked life jackets, paddles, pop bottles and cans, old tires and the list goes on.
 
This year, the event attracted a new record high for volunteers at more than 1,800 on event day. Organizers say that the more people who turn out, the more effective the one-day event is.
 
“For a number of years, Shore Sweep has been our signature community outreach program,” said Jennifer Flowers, executive director. “Although I’m new to the association, I have always been amazed at the work the community does for this event. We just really want to continue to spread the word and get even more people involved.”
 
Bonny Putney has been a major organizer of Shore Sweep for the association for more than 20 years. She’s seen the event evolve from a centrally located event drawing several hundred people from boy scout troops and church groups gathering at marinas and parks to its current format.
 
“Two weeks before Shore Sweep, we set up several advanced drop-off locations to gather larger items,” Putney said. “Then when our volunteers showed up on Saturday, they could concentrate on clearing the shorelines of smaller debris and trash. We were very pleased with the turnout and the way the community pitched in.”
 
The association works with sponsors to defray much of the cost of the event. Been There, Dump That, which joined the clean-up several years ago, provided bright-green dumpsters at clean-up locations. Front-end loaders and forklifts were donated by various organizations.
 
Other sponsors included Marine Specialties Inc., Bay-Assist, Mathis Grading, Martin Docks, Boat Dock Works, Tony Cato and many others. Hall County waived the land-fill tipping fees.
 
Michael Moon, who owns The Pootoon, has been a regular at Shore Sweep. This year at University Yacht Club he put on his boots and wrestled large black encapsulated dock foam blocks onto a forklift driven by LLA Board Member Matt Williams.
 
The scene was repeated around the lake at the other 11 locations. “This was an incredibly successful event,” Putney said. “Each year Shore Sweep just keeps getting better and more people are willing to help.”

Posted online 9.27.19
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