Archived Story

Illegal dumping on Lake Martin

Published 1:25pm Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dear editor,

I’m absolutely furious, and I hope all of you that value Lake Martin and take the time to read this article will join me in my outrage.

In October 2010, the annual Lake Martin “Renew our Rivers” cleanup focused on the lake shoreline east of the Highway 63 bridge, and all of the abandoned floating docks and building debris that could be located was removed. There was also a considerable amount of the usual litter, including plastic bottles, beer cans, etc. All in all we filled four large dumpsters with more than ten tons of trash and building material.

It was a very hard day’s work with more than 100 volunteers participating.

At the end of the day, the Lake Martin shoreline and sandy beaches in the Real Island, Parker Creek, Willow Point and Kowaliga areas were cleared of unsightly trash and abandoned docks.

Those who enjoy cruising the undeveloped shoreline across from Willow Point are well aware of the sandy beaches and gorgeous islands that beckon families to beach their crafts and enjoy a picnic and a swim. One of the islands located in this area has become so popular that a long term lake resident has cleared the beach, built a fire pit and installed a mailbox that houses trash bags for all to use. This area has been enjoyed by many over the past couple of years and, for the most part, remained clear of trash and litter.

One day last week I received a call from this Lake Martin lover who started the conversation by saying, “You cannot believe how awful this beautiful pristine beach area has been trashed up.” The sandy beach that he and his family and many others enjoyed so much had been turned into an illegal dumping ground.

After taking a paddling trip out to the island, I’m not sure awful is a strong enough word to describe what I saw. The building material obviously came from a demolished pier or piers and possibly a floating dock. It was piled up on the beach about two feet in height with some very long pieces floating at the shoreline with long nails sticking up. The sandy beach was no longer an inviting place to relax and enjoy an afternoon on the most beautiful lake in the South.

It is hard to imagine what kind of person would do this to A Treasured Alabama Lake. How could they be so uncaring and disrespectful?

This reckless act seems much more than is covered by Alabama’s law against littering and illegal dumps.

Whoever did this has a total disregard for the value of Lake Martin. They operated under the premise of “out of sight, out of mind.” Somebody else will clean it up.

And you know what? That is exactly what will happen.

Hopefully someone saw this being done, since the material was probably transported on some type of barge and may have taken several trips. It would be great if this could be reported to the Elmore County Sheriff and a case could be made against the perpetrator. That is the only way to make an impression on someone who would commit such a careless act.

Let’s all work together to keep Lake Martin clean and protected for future generation to enjoy.

John Thompson


Lake Martin Resource Association

Coordinator, Lake Martin Renew our Rivers