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Volunteers sweep shore
Annual cleanup collects debris around Lanier
3 Shore Sweep pic1
Bronwynne Hill with the Dawson County High Schools Interact Club carries a large piece of debris on Saturday during the Lake Lanier Associations 26th annual Shore Sweep. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Massive amounts of Styrofoam, parts of an abandoned houseboat and two crumbling docks were among the debris collected in Dawson County on Saturday during the Lake Lanier Association's 26th annual Shore Sweep.

"Hats off to a great effort by the War Hill Park Shore Sweep volunteers ... had an excellent turnout of 175 plus volunteers, 24 watercrafts and collected over 27,000 pounds of trash," said organizer Gordon Brand. "The trash collected filled the large trailer and three dump trucks."

War Hill Park was one of 10 locations in four counties that touch the lake taking part in the event. Joanna Cloud, president of the lake association, called the overall effort "tremendous."

"We definitely got a lot of Styrofoam, an unbelievable amount of Styrofoam is on the lake and is still out there and will be again next year," she said. "It's amazing how much Styrofoam is out there. I think the total trash, lakewide, we picked up on Saturday was the equivalent of about 12 tractor trailers full.

"I definitely think it was a very successful event."

Cloud said volunteers did a great job scouting the lake leading up to the cleanup.

"We had great support from our volunteer base across the lake and I think for the first time we pretty much had the entire lake pre-scouted, which was very, very helpful, because going into the actual day of Shore Sweep, we had a really good idea of where trash was," she said. "... We were dispatching volunteers to go pick up trash as opposed to just dispatching people to go look for trash, which are two very different tasks."

In the week leading up to the big day, locations were set up across the lake for people to drop off trash and larger debris. Most of the advance locations were accessible only by boat, allowing many of those who enjoy Lanier to help without having to set foot on dry land.

"I think the pre-scouting definitely helped us dispatch more effectively on the day of Shore Sweep. I definitely think we had more boaters this year," Cloud said.

"One of our veteran captains over at Lake Lanier Islands said she was standing on the shore at the campgrounds and said it was the most boats she has ever seen at Shore Sweep hauling and towing trash. And that's someone who's been involved in Shore Sweep for probably 10 years."

Volunteers were thanked for their efforts with a custom designed T-shirt featuring the winning art from the association's annual contest. Keep Dawson County Beautiful also provided lunch for the more than 175 local volunteers.

"Many thanks for all the Shore Sweep volunteers to make Lake Lanier cleaner and a safe lake for all to use," Brand said.