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Spring lake cleanup set for Saturday

LAKE MITCHELL — There are two basic jobs to do at the spring lake cleanup — cooking and cleaning.

Volunteers patrol the waters of Lake Mitchell, the lake’s perimeter and surrounding roadways to pick up all the litter they can find. This effort involves as many as 25 boats and many more people, depending on the weather, in addition to a large pontoon boat provided by Alabama Power.

Still, others stay behind and prepare lunch while everybody else is “out having fun,” as Park Ranger Frank Atkinson puts it. Lunch usually consists of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs — a well-earned reward for those who volunteer their time and strength to help make the lake a cleaner place.

And the cleanups have clearly had an impact, Atkinson said.

“About two years ago we were getting about 3 or 4 tons. This past year, we were getting about half that much. It’s put a dent in it,” he said.

A reported 1.6 tons was removed from Lake Mitchell during the fall cleanup in November 2008.

The cleanups are part of a regional effort called Renew Our Rivers. They are done each spring and fall throughout the waterways of the Southeast. Another Lake Mitchell cleanup will be held Saturday.

Volunteers are welcome to participate with or without boats. Those who do not own boats may ride with others.

The county provides a dump truck for the disposal of all litter, and Alabama Power provides garbage bags for the cleanup. Also, the Lake Mitchell Home Owners and Boat Owners Association provides long sticks for the retrieval of litter.

“They need to bring gloves,” Atkinson said.

The cleanup is scheduled for this Saturday, March 21, at 8 a.m. Volunteers will convene at the John Trobaugh Pavilion at Higgins Ferry Park.