Lanier to hold annual shore sweep

LAKE LANIER - September means Labor Day, the start to the professional football season, and if you live around Lake Lanier, the time of year for the annual shore sweep event to pick up trash around the lake.

According to Vicki Barnhorst of the Lake Lanier Association, the group will hold its 21st annual shore sweep from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 19.

"Between the time the lake started dropping in late 2007 until last year's shore sweep, we must have got about 60 tons of trash, styrofoam and general debris out of the lake," Barnhorst said. "This was due to the ongoing shore super sweep effort we had in winter and spring 2008 and last year's 20th anniversary shore sweep. Now that the lake level is much improved and boaters have been out this year, we are expecting quite a lot of trash."

Barnhorst said there is lots of styrofoam in the lake as a result of docks floating free, a side effect of the low lake level which plagued Lanier during the drought years.

She said volunteers who participate this year, in return for a full bag of trash, will receive a 2009 shore sweep T-shirt and an invitation to the volunteer appreciation party which will take place afterwards from 1 to 3 p.m. at Van Pugh Park North in Flowery Branch. Party attendees will enjoy free food and beverages, entertainment and a chance to win raffle prizes.

"One of the great things about shore sweep is the volunteer participation and the fact that it attracts a lot of young people," Barnhorst said. "Every year more scouts and other youth groups actively participate as they are becoming more environmentally conscious."

"Shore sweep is a lake-wide effort in that all the marinas support it along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the county parks," she said. "It wouldn't be possible without sponsors and the counties which donate trash removal and the companies who give their services at discounted rates."

The group is looking for site volunteers for the event, which involves being at one of the locations to hand out trash bags, maps and general information. The group also requests sending them directions to any areas of the shoreline where a lot of trash is so they can send volunteers to those locations.

For more information and to request site locations in order to participate, call the Lake Lanier Association office at 770-503-7757.