27th annual Shore Sweep
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 26
What: Trash pick-up hosted by Lake Lanier Association
Participating sites: Lake Lanier Islands, Clarks Bridge, Longwood, Don Carter, Gwinnett and War Hill parks; Aqualand, Bald Ridge, Gainesville and Port Royale marinas; and Balus Creek and Big Creek boat ramps
More information: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
As the Lake Lanier Association approaches its 27th annual Shore Sweep on Sept. 26, the group has a new tool in its arsenal for ridding the lake's shores of trash: a cellphone app.
The "TrashOut" app allows users to take a picture of trash big and small and give the exact coordinates of the litter. The association has already counted more than 200 reports of trash at Lake Lanier and will use the information to help dispatch volunteers in the most effective manner.
"Certainly, it's a big step forward for us in terms of organization of the event," said Lake Lanier Association Executive Director Joanna Cloud.
The Shore Sweep, which will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 26, averages 1,000 volunteers and 30 tons of trash collected per year.
This year there are 12 participating locations, including War Hill Park in Dawson County. Lanier Islands, Clarks Bridge, Longwood, Don Carter, Gwinnett and War Hill parks; Aqualand, Bald Ridge, Gainesville and Port Royale marinas; and Balus Creek and Big Creek boat ramps are also among the sites.
Volunteers who turn in at least one full bag of trash get a T-shirt. Advance registration isn't required but helps LLA plan shoreline coverage. Email email@example.com to notify LLA of your plans to participate.
Cloud said considering the average amount of trash collected multiplied by 27 years shows the kind of impact Shore Sweep will have made by month's end.
"If we had not been doing this, imagine how much stuff would be out there on the shores of Lake Lanier," Cloud said.
Cloud has seen items such as paddle boats, pedal boats, washing machines, TVs, couches, bikes, bathing suits, a rocking horse, toys, baseballs, basketballs and Nerf balls in working on the sweep. This is her fifth year organizing the event.
Cloud said the community has grown to recognize the need for trash sweeps. She said her organization continues to build relationships in the community, letting people know how big of an issue littering is.
Cloud said she knows it is often easier for people on lake islands without access to a trash can to litter than dispose of trash properly, but her group is working against that mentality. Instead, she said she hopes lake visitors and residents will have a "take only pictures, leave only footprints" mindset.