Renew Our Rivers continues Saturday

Published 5:38 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Renew Our Rivers campaign has made a noticeable impact on Lake Mitchell, according to Higgins Ferry Park Ranger Frank Atkinson.

But that’s no excuse to not participate in this Saturday’s cleanup, which is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.

“We need all the volunteers we can get,” Atkinson said.

Volunteers rid Lake Mitchell of thousands of pounds of trash each spring and fall through Renew Our Rivers

Renew Our Rivers started as a small, community event in Gadsden in 2000 and has grown to encompass volunteer cleanups in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. Alabama Power is a major participant in the effort, which has removed more than 10 million pounds of trash from Southeastern waterways between 2000 and 2009.

At Lake Mitchell alone, the biannual cleanups resulted in the removal of approximately 3,200 pounds of trash in spring 2011. That’s a significant difference from the first time, when volunteers cleared the lake of more than 3 tons of trash.

“We’re getting less and less,” Atkinson said. “We’re making headway.”

Peggy Bullard of the Lake Mitchell Home Owners and Boat Owners Association said she hopes there will come a day when the dump truck will not be filled to capacity.

“We must all work to keep trash out of our lakes, and one way we can do that is have secured trash containers in our boats so that trash will not inadvertently be blown into the lake,” Bullard said. “All things blown off of piers become trash — even chairs, shoes and floats — unless claimed by someone. We pick up bags and bags of bottles, cups and food containers each time, therefore we ask boaters please come and enjoy the beauty of this great lake but secure your trash and take it back to a trash container when the fun is over. A little effort from everyone will make a great difference.”

The cleanup will last from 8 a.m. until noon. Those who wish to participate should arrive at the John Trobaugh Pavilion by 8.

A free hotdog lunch will be provided to all volunteers.