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Corps employees partner with EK PRIDE and community to remove trash from Lake Cumberland

USACE photos by Mark Rankin

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Sept. 23, 2019
USACE photo by Mark Rankin

A group of volunteers from Pulaski County in Somerset, Ky., off bags of trash onto a work detail trailer with trash collected by volunteers from the shorelines of Lake Cumberland on the Cumberland River at the Waitsboro Recreation area in Burnside, Ky., Sept. 14, 2019.

USACE photo by Mark Rankin

Tonya Foster, Chris Dalton and Misty Dalton wait to unload their kayaks after picking up trash for the Lake Cumberland Cleanup on the Cumberland River at the Waitsboro Recreation area in Burnside, Ky. Sept. 14, 2019.

BURNSIDE, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2019) – Extreme temperatures and a beautiful day on the water greeted volunteers who showed up Saturday in Somerset and Monticello to help clean up trash and debris from Lake Cumberland and its shoreline.

In celebration of National Public Lands Day, 240 volunteers bagged mounds of trash and debris from the Waitsboro recreation area, Grider Hill and Conley Bottom Marinas. These sites were the designated recreation sites during the Annual Lake Cumberland Cleanup. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Cumberland Natural Resource Managers Office and the Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., organized the event that resulted in the collection of 460 bags of trash, and 39 old tires along the shoreline and on public lands. 

Eastern Kentucky Area Manager Michael LaPina praised the PRIDE group, thanked all of the volunteers on a job well done and commended his park rangers and staff for their outstanding effort to help make the event run smoothly.

"Large scale clean ups like this take time, coordination, and planning,” said Lapina.  “I am impressed with the volunteers and their level of commitment and dedication to show up year after year.  None of this could happen without volunteers,” he said.

The event kicked off sharply at 9 a.m. Local High School Junior ROTC units, kayakers, work release inmates  and boating friends were also well represented and departed by land and water throughout the morning to gather trash and debris from miles of shoreline. 

Volunteers and marinas on the lake donated the use of several pontoon boats that shuttled groups to secluded and hard-to-reach areas.

Aydon Eimers, an ROTC 9th grade freshman at Pulaski County High School, said the group is excited to be a part of the Lake Cumberland cleanup team and thinks opportunities like this help bring camaraderie to the group and offer unity.

“I didn’t realize how much trash and debris that just floats on the lake and the effects it has when it washes on the shoreline and gets trapped,” said Eimers.    

The day's work ended at 1 p.m., and volunteers were rewarded with food and prizes at an appreciation picnic hosted by the Eastern Kentucky PRIDE at Cole Park in Burnside.

At Cole Park, Tanner Rich, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park ranger and co-event coordinator talked with JROTC groups and said he was happy to see many young people interested in taking care of the environment and especially at Lake Cumberland.   

“It takes participation for many sources to make this event a success and it is  always good to see the high school groups and friendly faces from our community come out and lend a hand for the cleanup,” said Rich. 

According to Tammie Nazario, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, the group is comprised of local citizens, organizations and agencies, which care about Lake Cumberland and the environment.

PRIDE is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental cleanup and education across southern and eastern Kentucky.  PRIDE members work with area businesses and organizations to obtain donations, which are used to pay for everything from the printing of T-shirts to prizes for the many volunteers.

“I’m so happy to see all of the volunteers today, and I especially want to thank the young people that provided the food for the annual Lake Cumberland cleanup,” said Nazario.  “It’s good to see so many young people and parents from the local high schools out here supporting today.”

Officials from the PRIDE group and the Corps expressed their sincere thanks to everyone who donated their time, talents and resources to this year’s lake cleanup.

Anyone interested in learning about PRIDE can visit their website  https://kypride.org   

For questions related to the Corps of Engineers and Lake Cumberland, please call (606) 679-6337. Lake Cumberland is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lakecumberland.

(For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)