Volunteers beckoned as Boone Lake Cleanup draws near

Sue Guinn Legg • Apr 20, 2014 at 8:52 PM

The Boone Lake Association is calling all hands to tow away trash and celebrate its accomplishments at the 15th annual Boone Lake Cleanup, set for Saturday.

As in past years, the event will offer volunteers a chance to win cash and prizes for every bag of trash they collect.

Cleanup bags will be distributed from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Sonny’s Marina, Jay’s Dock, Rockingham Marina, Lakeview Marina, Boone Lake Marina, Davis Boat Dock, the Bluff City boat ramp and the TWRA boat ramp at DeVault Bridge by Winged Deer Park on U.S. Highway 11E.

Every bag of litter collected from the lake’s water and shorelines returned to the participating locations in the provided bags will be exchanged for one door prize ticket. Volunteers returning the filled bags will also receive an event T-shirt and a wristband good for free admission to the annual Boone Lake Cleanup Volunteer Picnic at Winged Deer Park.

The picnic will begin at 4 p.m. and prize drawings will start at 5. More than $2,000 in cash and prizes will be given away. Volunteers attending the picnic are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.

Ron Siegfried, chairman of the BLA’s Lake Operations Committee, said nearly 500 volunteers take part in the event annually, clearing hundreds of pounds of trash from the lake and its shorelines.

“We always hope for good weather, but are always encouraged when folks brave unseasonably cool or rainy days to make a difference,” Seigfried said. “We had some cold drizzling rain last year, so this year we’re hoping for a little better weather.”

Held in conjunction with the international observance of Earth Day on April 22, the cleanup makes for a much cleaner launch of the summer recreation season on the lake. Siegfried said funding for the event comes from a $1,500 TVA grant to the nonprofit BLA and financial support from 12 major sponsors. Food for the picnic, which last year included barbecue, hot dogs, baked beans and slaw, is donated by Food City, and dessert is provided by Doubletree by Hilton hotel.

In addition to the annual day, Siegfried said the BLA works to keep the lake clean year-round with a fleet of four boats and a staff of three men who are on the lake picking up trash and towing away logs, wayward docks and Styrofoam blocks Monday though Friday throughout the spring, summer and fall, all paid for by the association’s members.

Established in 1983 by Boone Lake residents concerned about the lake’s poor physical and biological condition, the BLA today includes an estimated 600 lake residents, marinas, businesses and other concerned citizens who want to keep the lake clean.

In addition to its cleanup efforts, the association collects water samples from the lake throughout the year for E. coli testing at Johnson City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. As of the most recent testing, Siegfried happily said the lake water is cleaner now than it has been at any point in its history. “We are in great shape,” he said.

More information about this year’s cleanup may be obtained by calling the BLA at 956-6615 or the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department at 283-5827.

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