renew our rivers

LMRA president John Thompson helps remove a destroyed buoy from a barge bringing trash from Lake Martin Friday at Wind Creek State Park.

If Friday was any indication, Renew Our Rivers will once again be successful this year.

Lake Martin Resource Association president John Thompson was grinning from ear to ear Friday morning at Wind Creek State Park as he got news of help on the roadways around Lake Martin.

“It’s going great,” Thompson said. “We have more than 30 young people on Young’s Ferry Road and Madwind picking up trash. It is great to see the young people involved.”

Thompson said Jerry Bynum helped organize the group picking up trash thrown from vehicles along roads near the lake.

Friday also meant efforts from the last month of getting trash from the shorelines of Lake Martin came to fruition. For weeks Thompson and other volunteers have been walking the shorelines and bagging litter and trash left behind by others. Along with things like beer bottles, cans and just trash, Thompson said mattresses, tires and even a bowling ball have been found during this year’s 15th annual cleanup.

Thompson said some partners make it possible to get bagged trash from the staging points on the lake.

“Without them we could not get this done,” Thompson said “We could not do this without the partnership with Wind Creek State Park, TowBoat U.S. and Lake Martin Dock. They are the ones that get the big trash off the lake. We can bag it; we can stage it, but we can’t move it. They deserve a great big thank you.”

Thompson said last year’s Renew Our Rivers cleanup removed 22 tons of trash from Lake Martin and with the success of cleanups and education he expects this year’s program to collect a little less.

“I expect it to be about 15 to 17 tons,” Thompson said.

The cleanup continues today with children helping clean Wind Creek State Park but Thompson said anyone else can pick up litter along roadsides near their homes.

“We would like for people to pick up trash along roads too,” Thompson said. “That trash can end up in the lake.”

Thompson said volunteers can pick up bags and trash pickers to aid in the efforts at one of the sites where dumpsters have been staged. those sites are Siggers Crossroad, Union boat ramp and Real Island and Kowaliga marinas. He said those who return to the dumpster sites with bags of litter will receive the annual celebrate Lake Martin T-shirt.

Today’s event at Wind Creek State Park will include volunteers from the Boy Scouts, Camp Fire girls and students from Stephens Elementary School and another special treat.

Thompson said, “We will also have a hot dog lunch for volunteers at Wind Creek State Park from Dirt Road Gourmet.” 

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.