SOMERSET, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2014) – In celebration of National Public Lands Day, 386 volunteers bagged mounds of trash and debris from five designated recreation sites during the 25th Annual Lake Cumberland Cleanup.
The Friends of Lake Cumberland and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District organized the event that resulted in the collection of 1,156 bags of trash, 268 old tires and plastic bottles along the shoreline and on public lands.
Lake Cumberland Natural Resource Manager Tom Hale complimented 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 Hale. “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, Cub Scout Packs and conservation groups 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.
Chasity Joseph, an ROTC freshman at Pulaski County High School, said the group jumped at the chance to volunteer at Lake Cumberland on National Public Lands Day.
“Working together allows us to become a unit and allows us to grow as a team while providing service to our community,” said Joseph.
The day's work ended at 1 p.m., and volunteers were rewarded with prizes and two appreciation picnics. General Burnside Island State Park, near the upper reaches of the lake, hosted groups from Waitsboro Recreation Area, Burnside Island, and Conley Bottom locations. Lake Cumberland State Park, near Wolf Creek Dam, hosted a picnic for the groups working at Lake Cumberland State Park and Grider Hill.
At the General Burnside Island State Park, Aurora Scott, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park ranger and co-event coordinator presented door prizes and said she was happy to see many familiar faces from the community for the cleanup.
“It’s always good to see the high school groups and friendly faces from the community come out and lend their hands for the clean up,” said Scott.
Groups were awarded door prizes by The Friends of Lake Cumberland that included awards ranging from $250 for first place to $100 for fourth place, based on the most trash collected. Organizers also gave a prize of $50 for the most tires collected. Participants were encouraged to submit a "most unusual item found" and the winner took home a cash prize of $25.
“Who would bring something like this to the lake and leave it,” said Joseph. “ I think my find is the most unusual.”
According to Syphax, the Friends of Lake Cumberland is made up of local citizens, organizations and agencies, which care about Lake Cumberland and the environment. Without each member’s help, the annual community cleanup would not enjoy such success. Friends’ 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.
“This is a beautiful day to be outside for the 25th Annual Lake Cumberland Cleanup,” said Friends of Lake Cumberland President Steve Syphax. “It’s good to see so many young people and parents out today.”
Officials from the Friends 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 becoming a member of The Friends of Lake Cumberland or learning more about the organization is encouraged to contact President Steve Syphax at (606) 451-1402. 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.)