County aims to clean up Lay Lake

Published 8:57 pm Thursday, July 2, 2009

A trip to a popular spot on Lay Lake will reveal that many locals don’t get the point when it comes to littering — or that they simply don’t care.

The Point, located just north of the boat launch, has become more of an illegal dump site than the scenic campsite it was intended to be. But county leaders are trying to change that.

“It’s been open to the public, and they haven’t been taking care of it,” Commissioner Allen Caton said. “After the weekend, you can spend all of Monday and Tuesday just cleaning up.”

The property, owned by Alabama Power and leased by the county, offers primitive camping on a first-come, first-served basis.

But when Caton went to inspect the site recently, he found broken beer bottles, used baby diapers and tons of other trash littering the landscape.

“It was really bad,” County Litter Control Agent Libby Ratliff said.

Ratliff and a crew removed four truckloads of trash consisting mainly of broken glass from bottles. She also said there was evidence of people defecating in the lake and on the property, and evidence of campfires.

After the cleanup, the county road department cleared the site of brush to further improve its appearance.

“It’s not really a legal burning place or a place to camp because there are no restroom facilities,” Ratliff said. “It’s going to take the respect of the people to take their trash and take what they bring back with them.”

Caton plans to look into stimulus funding for site improvements. The only way the county could justify such a project right now, however, would be through a grant that would not require matching funds.

He indicated he would like to see The Point possibly become like Higgins Ferry Park on neighboring Lake Mitchell.

“There are a lot of good things that could be done to it. (Park Ranger) Frank (Atkinson) has got Higgins Ferry Park making good money, and this one could do the same,” Caton said.