Cleanup Above and Below the Surface at Lake Allatoona

It all started 32 years ago as a once a year event in Allatoona, Georgia. The Great Lake Allatoona Clean Up (GLAC) brought out 3000 volunteers, primarily scouts and other school age children, to clean up tons of trash around the 270 miles of shoreline.

In January 2018, things changed. A few area residents and avid lake lovers decided it was time to pick up trash on a much more frequent basis. 

“Lots of people from the lake community got tired of looking at all the trash and tires on Allatoona Lake. People have been treating the lake like a trash can for too long,” said Dave Matthews, an area resident. “Cindy (my wife) and I got together on Facebook and started these massive cleanups,” he said. “We did this with the lake community for a while and then one day, I got the best call ever. The GLAC Committee called and wanted to meet with us. They asked me to be part of the team. Consequently, the Lake Warriors Program was started.”

Since then, the Lake Warriors and have spent over 1,000 hours around the shoreline, collecting and removing 763 bags of trash and 232 tires.

Lake Allatoona volunteers

In June 2018, to assure that the entire shoreline was covered, the GLAC Committee incorporated a shared form of “Adopt-a-Mile” between the volunteer shoreline coordinators and the Lake Warriors. The 270 miles of shoreline was divided between 20 coordinators, who recruited volunteers to assist them during their scheduled cleanups. Using a variety of watercraft, as well as volunteers on foot, hundreds of pounds of trash were collected during each outing. Canoers and kayakers were able to get into areas to clean and remove trash that were not accessible on foot or by other types of watercraft. The Lake Warriors and Adopt-a-Mile volunteers were reaching areas that have not been covered during the previous “one-day” lake cleanups due to lack of accessibility.

The partnership with the Lake Warriors enabled the GLAC to cover more ground and get to inaccessible areas. However, when the Georgia Dive School approached the Lake Warriors about helping remove trash and debris underwater, the cleanup effort entered uncharted territory. Due to the lake elevation, there were areas of the lake that have never been exposed to be cleaned.

The GLAC is very excited to have these new approaches to cleaning and the expanding community volunteer support. Its focus is no longer cleaning once a year; it’s cleaning all year long, encouraging everyone to do their part to keep Lake Allaatoona clean.

This year’s Great Lake Allatoona Clean Up (GLAC) will happen October 6th.