Archived Story

Thanks to all who renewed our rivers

Published 12:00pm Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dear Editor,

Thanks to all who helped make the 2012 Lake Martin Renew our Rivers a huge success.

It feels a little strange to be able to say that I spent an enjoyable time picking up trash left by careless individuals who abuse the pristine environment of Lake Martin. My pleasure actually comes from the results of a very successful sequence of events which included a “Celebrate Lake Martin” day at Stephens School. Teachers Ann Goree and Penny Adamson led the Stephens students through an environmental educational effort that hopefully will help in the reduction of littering by future generations. The T-shirt shirt design artwork created by student, Maliq Burton was outstanding and in my estimation demonstrated some real talent by a “budding” artist. Alabama Power Company (APCo) was gracious in providing T-shirts for the entire student body including faculty members.

We had great volunteer participation in this year’s effort. We were able to retrieve a great deal of trash both from the shoreline and roadsides that had been designated for cleanup. Wind Creek Park was the base of operation for the shoreline cleanup and thanks to scouting efforts by Lake Watch President Dick Bronson, LMRA Board member Norm White and Captain Matt Brooks of the Marine Police, we were able to target the heavily trashed areas using GPS coordinates they provided. At least four abandoned boats as well as an old floating dock were removed. Additionally there were numerous rusted outdoor grills, automobile tires (one still on the rim) and many, many beer cans and plastic bottles. These eyesores were mainly located at the full pool level of the shoreline or in some cases we found bags of trash thrown on an island or in a wooded area.

The scary thing for those who like to tie up their boats and enjoy the sandy beaches was the enormous number of broken bottles that were present. We dug out what we saw or in some cases stepped on but boaters and swimmers beware, there has to be plenty that we missed.

The shoreline cleanup effort yielded enough trash to overfill three large “roll off” dumpsters provided by Advanced Disposal. Wind Creek Park Manager Jimmy Shivers provided a “backhoe” and an operator to handle the unloading of the trash.

Boats were provided by LMRA and APCo and volunteers included LMRA Board members, APCo employees and numerous Lake Martin residents.

In addition to the shoreline efforts, we had 19 volunteers in the Real Island community and 29 Russell Lands employees who did a great job of cleaning roadsides of unsightly litter. Combined they filled three eight cubic yard front load dumpsters.

On Saturday approximately 75 Boy Scout from the Horseshoe Bend District were organized to clean seven public boat launch sites and lead in roads. After they completed cleaning their assigned areas which combined filled another eight cubic yard dumpster, they gathered at the Coley Creek site for a hot dog cook out. The cookout was sponsored by Marshall Griffin, Manager of the Alabama Power Company office in Alex City.

LMRA offers a special thanks to Laura Pemberton, Virginia Spears, Austin Nelson and Betsy Iler at the Alex City Outlook and Lake Magazine for great reporting and helping to solicit volunteers for these events.

So my happiness is bittersweet. I despise litter and I have no respect for those who trash our roadsides and shoreline, but seeing a cleaner Lake Martin and working with volunteers who freely give up their time and energy to remove trash left by others makes me smile. It is my prayer that all who love Lake Martin will make every day a “Renew our Rivers” day.


John Thompson

Vice President, Lake Martin Resource Association