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Volunteers help clean up Watauga Lake during annual event

July 20th, 2013 8:43 pm by Jennifer Sprouse

Volunteers help clean up Watauga Lake during annual event

Volunteers worked through rain to gather trash from Watauga Lake and the shoreline Saturday morning. (Dave Boyd/Johnson City Press)


Adam Buckles, Kim Walsh and Jeanette Campbell could be seen steering their boat into an open place at Fish Springs Marina on Saturday morning, and then proceeded to unload trash bags and other items they collected out on the water during the fourth-annual Watauga Lake Cleanup.


Buckles said they had already made one trip into the marina already to unload and said their trash collection on the second trip included a plastic lawn chair, bottles, cans, glass and styrofoam, all pulled from areas along the lake’s shoreline.


He said it was his first time participating in the event and said he views the cleanup efforts as a way of preventing trash from going downstream.


“Everything starts here and goes downstream. If we could start here and pick up everything, (we could) keep it from going downstream,” Buckles said.


Tony Weaver, working registration for Saturday’s event, said around 20 people had signed up and were out on the water starting around 8 a.m.


She said during registration, participants got a pair of cloth gloves, as well as a pair of latex gloves and trash bags. Weaver said each participant also received an Applebee’s gift certificate for a free appetizer.


“Today’s cleanup is just very important. It’s something that our community needed,” Weaver said. “We usually try to find some different clubs and groups that will participate as a group. Then we just have people that live around here that have boats, that just want to come out and take people out on their boats to help clean the lake up. They come out and do whatever they can.”


She said each of the groups out in boats on the lake Saturday would come in periodically to drop off trash, and said all of the groups would be out until around 2 p.m.


Weaver said another set of volunteers started at the Sink Mountain Boat Ramp, near Highway 67 in Butler.


She said the whole group of volunteers would gather at 2 p.m. for food and drinks, as well as music and door prizes from various sponsors.


“It’s very important for everybody to come out and help keep this beautiful lake clean. Mary Salter started this. She lives in a house near the lake and she just thought that ... it would be a good thing to give back to our community,” Weaver said. 


“I hope that all the trash gets picked up off the lake and I would hope that people would not put trash in the lake to start with. Every time I see a piece of trash, I try to pick it up. That’s what I ... wish everybody else would do.”

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