Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup draws more than 3,000 volunteers

“Very pleased” with the event’s turnout, Linda Hartsfield is happy to report nearly 3,600 volunteers registered for Saturday’s Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup. In its 34th year, the outreach effort’s participation numbers were up slightly more than 400 over the previous year.

“I hope people took away the fact that it is amazing to see what kind of trash, debris items are in our water supply as well as what people leave out there and should be taken away with them,” said Hartsfield, GLAC’s volunteer coordinator. “It gives them a sense of pride to take care of our natural resource and to come together with other people with the same ideas of protecting our environment.

“… We had some folks that want to participate in the future, like in our Lake Warriors program year-round. We had several people ask about that.”

Following a shoreline pickup from 9 a.m. to noon, the Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup included a volunteer appreciation picnic at Riverside Park Day Use Area in Cartersville and a complimentary lunch at Galt’s Ferry Day Use Area in Acworth.

While this year’s collection totals still are being tabulated, Hartsfield shared discarded items ran the gamut, from tires and road signs to a bottle of uncorked wine and a loveseat.

In 2018, GLAC collected 7.11 tons of trash from Lake Allatoona. Spearheaded initially by David Grabensteder — who now is retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — in 1986, the cleanup event currently is presented by the Lake Allatoona Association.

Calling the event “incredible,” Keep Bartow Beautiful Executive Director Sheri Henshaw is impressed with GLAC’s longevity and growth.

“We’ve got an event now that has offshoots that continue to carry it year-round and go into different aspects of the lake to do cleanups that we never thought would be possible with just a one-day event,” Henshaw said. “So the one-day event is still incredibly important, especially for getting so many people out there.

“We’ve got a great turnout. We had 400 more than last year. So that is a great increase. It means we’re getting the word out, and people are getting much more involved in the effort. So it’s wonderful for Bartow County.”