Column: Coming together for a common cause on Lake Mitchell

Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Peggy Bullard | Community Columnist

On May 4, Home Owners Boat Owners (HOBO) joined Alabama Power for the Renew Our Rivers Lake Mitchell spring cleanup. There were 45 to 50 people present to help pull trash out of the lake. Some families start their cleaning from their place and end up at the pavilion and arrive just in time to unload the trash and have lunch thus failing to sign in. Lake Mitchell is a lovely lake that Chilton County and Coosa County can both be proud to invite family and friends to come and enjoy. It is a clean lake with much wildlife and is covered with beautiful foliage around all the banks especially in the spring. In just a few days I’ve seen ducks, geese, turtles, fish, Egrets, Eagles, Cardinals and many other species of birds. It really is a wildlife resort and bird haven.

These pictures include just a few of the items we pulled out of the lake. There are two cleanups each year. One in May and another in October. There was 1,500 pounds of trash pulled out this spring plus a pickup truck with some items that could not be taken to the landfill. There is usually between 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of trash collected at each cleanup. HOBO has been doing lake cleanup for over 25 years now. Some years when we have had really bad storms or tornadoes it can be more. There are plastic chairs and other things that have blown off decks during storms that we pull out, but sadly there is bag after bag of bottles, cups, cans and even old tires found. Once we pulled out an old refrigerator. Can you even imagine what this small lake would look like if Alabama Power along with HOBO members did not clean it twice a year?

The new fireboat manned by the East Chilton Fire Department was on hand to keep us safe. Marie Greene got a picture of those on board removing a very big log out of the water. Those big logs floating just below the surface of the water can do great damage to a boat, and even cause a passenger to be tossed overboard, not to mention what might happen to a skier if they should come across one. Another reason to be safe and wear your life jacket anytime you are in a boat. We know it isn’t cool to wear a jacket, but it can and does save lives. It’s for our own good to wear them.

Non-lake residence if you have a boat, love Lake Mitchell and want it to remain clean and pristine for all to enjoy, you can come help HOBO clean. It is work, but there is a hot dog lunch provided by HOBO after the cleanup. We start at 8 a.m. at Higgins Ferry Park under the pavilion where you can get pick up sticks, bags and gloves furnished by Alabama Power to make collecting the trash a little easier. Everyone who works is asked to return with their trash by 11:30 to noon. There is always someone to help you off load your boat and load the dump truck. Then, we all enjoy hotdogs, chili, baked beans, drinks and cookies. If you love the lake but don’t own a boat, come anyway.

There may be room for you to go out on one of the two Alabama Power barges or join an individual who has room on their boat for you. It isn’t all work because you get to meet people, enjoy the lake and eat, plus you can take home a Renew Our Rivers shirt and cap also furnished by Alabama Power. The next cleanup is Oct. 5 starting at 8:00 a.m. at Higgins Ferry. Consider coming and joining us for a day of work and fellowship.

Another fun event that is open to the public is the Family Friendly Poker Run on June 15th starting at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds support Lake Mitchell HOBO Scholarship Fund. You will need access to a boat for this one. Dealers are set up at their pier around the lake. You bring your boat and leisurely travel from pier to pier to collect your winning hand. It is not a race. You must return to Higgins Ferry by 2:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per player. There will be a prize for a Royal Flush jackpot of $1,000 sponsored by Baugh Ford of Clanton. If there is no Royal Flush, then the best hand will win $500, $200 for 2nd place and $100 for 3rd place. The event will take place rain or shine, and will only be canceled due to dangerous weather. In seven years, we have never had to cancel, so the odds are in our favor. The registration fee is a non-refundable donation to support the HOBO Scholarship Fund. Preferred registration is online at If you cannot register online, bring cash or check and the names of the players to Higgins Ferry by 9:30 a.m. the morning of the event. We have no way to accept credit cards at the event.

Chilton and Coosa County residents and HOBO have beautiful Lake Mitchell to enjoy. We are proud to do our part to keep it clean and pristine. We invite you to come and enjoy this beautiful lake that we are blessed to have in our town.