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Shore Sweep event celebrates 30 years of trash cleared from Lake Lanier
Shore sweep
Hampton Brown, an intern with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, carries Styrofoam and other litter during the 2017 Lake Lanier Shore Sweep in Gainesville.

Shore Sweep began 30 years ago as a modest cleanup effort to pull Styrofoam and other floating debris from Lake Lanier.

“It was a tiny little thing,” Bonny Putney, the event’s chairwoman, said of the event. “We had trouble getting dumpsters (at cleanup sites).

“Today, it’s grown to where we have to have huge roll-off dumpsters at every location and mechanized equipment, like Bobcats, because of the weight and size of the trash.”

The Lake Lanier Association is holding “30 Years and 1,000 Tons of Fun” on Saturday, Aug. 25, to not only celebrate how much the event has grown, but to recognize volunteers and sign up volunteers for this year’s Sept. 15 Shore Sweep.

The event is being held at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville, because 1,000 tons of trash — the amount pulled from Lanier over the years — “takes Olympic-level effort,” the Lake Lanier Association says in an email.

Shore Sweep Celebration

What: Party recognizing volunteers, event’s 30th anniversary

When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25

Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Park, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville

How much: Free

“Imagine what Lake Lanier would be like had we not had that volunteer support over the past 30 years,” the group says.

The event, set for 1-4 p.m., features live music, food and prizes for people wearing vintage Shore Sweep T-shirts.

“I have a 2000 T-shirt, the oldest one I can find,” Putney said. “But I may wear this year’s (T-shirt) just to try to get people to (volunteer this year).”

The event is open to the public, not just volunteers.

“The more the merrier,” said Joanna Cloud, Lake Lanier Association’s executive director.

Shore Sweep itself is set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Setp. 15, with cleanup locations at Bald Ridge, Aqualand, Gainesville and Port Royale marinas; Lanier Islands resort; Balus Creek and Big Creek boat ramps; Don Carter State Park; and Gwinnett, Longwood and War Hill parks.

“The only difference (this year) is that the Olympic Park will not be a site for us … since they will be hosting” the International Canoe Federation Dragon Boat World Championships Sept. 12-16, Cloud said.

Otherwise, for Shore Sweep, “we need volunteers by land as well as by water,” the Lake Lanier Association website says. “For our water volunteers, power boats, jet skis, pontoons, kayaks and canoes all have a place at this event.”