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Lake hopes signs will deter littering

BUFORD - During yearly trash sweeps of Lake Lanier, Vicki Barnhorst said 25 to 35 tons of trash are recovered from the water. But Barnhorst, executive director of Lake Lanier Association Inc., said an intervention is in place to lessen the amount of litter around and in the lake.

The association recently received 150 bilingual "Do Not Litter" signs to be posted around boat marinas and parks surrounding the water.

Barnhorst said the signs are a result of a 2007 Clean Water Grant from the BoatU.S. Foundation, awarded to the association in June.

"We ordered the signs a few weeks ago and received them earlier this week," Barnhorst said. "We've customized the signs to say, 'From the Lake Lanier Association and BoatU.S. Foundation please do not litter' in English and Spanish."

With a number of Spanish speaking people visiting the lake and the parks nearby, Barnhorst said including the sign's request in Spanish seemed like an important addition.

"There are a lot of Spanish speaking people visiting the day-use parks and the lake as well," Barnhorst said. "It's important. They, and English speaking people, need to keep this lake clean."

Barnhorst said Lake Lanier is a source of drinking water for 4.5 million Georgians and she said that is just one reason people should be concerned with keeping the lake litter free.

Barnhorst said four of the signs have been given to the Lanier Harbor Marina to be posted and a number more have been given to those at the Army Corps of Engineers, Hall and Forsyth county parks and Lake Lanier Island.

Lanier Harbor Marina Manager Scott Sears said many of the visitors to his marina drop trash in the middle of the parking lot and in the lake.

"I think it will get people thinking about it," Sears said of the new signs. "It can't hurt. Hopefully, they will not only help the lake but help me on the property, reminding people to throw away their trash."

The signs, Barnhorst said, will hopefully deter visitors from littering and encourage them to use proper trash receptacles.

"We have 7.5 million visitors a year to the lake, and they all leave a footprint, unfortunately," Barnhorst said.