Small Group of Warriors Makes a Big Dent in Cleanup
The Allatoona Lake Warriors, part of the Lake Allatoona Association (LAA), have been doing extraordinary work the past two years, collecting trash year-round and particularly in winter and spring when water levels are the lowest.
However, special efforts are being made this year despite higher water levels and more lake activity.
Despite the recent shelter-in-place mandates, our Lake Warriors, led by Dave Matthews, have been busy doing small group shoreline and lake clean-ups. Their recent focus has been on the Little River and Noonday Creek areas, and the results have been extraordinary.
From Nov. 5, 2019, through May 28, 2020, the Allatoona Lake Warriors have concentrated on the Cherokee County arm of Lake Allatoona. They have spent almost 500 hours collecting and removing trash from the Lake Allatoona shoreline. They have removed 526 bags of trash and 20 tires. However, there are other odd pieces that also were collected, including a pay telephone, a water ski, a full-size refrigerator, several lounge chairs, 55-gallon drums, just to name a few. A majority of the trash and debris is entering into the Lake Allatoona watershed from the Cherokee County arm of the lake.
Trash Bag Tally
• Little River, 271 bags
• Rose Creek, 93 bags
• Boy Scout Aquatic Center, 60 bags
• Noonday Creek, 28 bags
• The Waterfalls on Little River, 19 bags
• BridgeMill subdivision, 18 bags
• Scott’s Mill, 18 bags
• Gold Mine Branch, 7 bags
• Rope Mill Trail, 6 bags
• Blankets Creek, 6 bags.
“[The Lake Warriors have] collected 16.8 tons of trash over the last 2.5 years,” Matthews said. “For the most part everyone cleans up after themselves but there are a few infamous coves where the trash comes back every year. We would love to say it’s only drunk, partying people that are leaving the trash, but we will find everything from juice boxes to bongs and some things we can’t mention. We’ve found perfect canoes, it feels like 1,000 plastic chairs, thousands of bottles and lots of them are current but you’ll find some from the 70s and 80s.”
It’s amazing what a small group of dedicated folks can do!
“LAA believes that the lake trash removal efforts have now reached a turning point, and can soon move to more of an ongoing maintenance mode,” LAA President Mike Bearden said. “LAA believes that moving forward, the annual Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup trash collection push, complemented by more limited and targeted Warrior team efforts, will result on a continuous basis, in perhaps the most trash-free, large lake body of water in the U.S.”
Most importantly, we believe that partnering with area communities including Cherokee County, Canton and Woodstock will be needed to work toward maintaining and managing a cleaner lake. We are looking for opportunities to discuss ideas about a maintenance program including trash diversion strategies to keep the trash from entering the lake.
Bryan and Megan Topper and Craig Myers have been doing a majority of the collection in the Little River and Noonday Creek areas of the lake.
By Linda Hartsfield, an LAA board member, has been retired three years from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after more than 41 years of service.
And Susan Holder, a volunteer on the GLAC promotion and publicity committee, has lived in the Wilderness Camp area for 11 years.
Lake trash and contamination comes from individuals and businesses that are irresponsible with their trash; the sources vary.
- Lake users who don’t take their trash with them, or dispose of it properly. We often see people leave trash within sight of a trash can.
- Communities that dump household trash and yard waste into storm drains, and around the lake and its watershed. We regularly see trash from electronics and appliance packaging, along with debris from remodeling projects in and around the lake and nearby communities. Grass clippings and other yard waste, along with household trash, can be seen flowing into the lake after a rain. Tennis balls also can be seen floating in the lake.
- Roadside trash. When it rains – especially during a heavy rainfall – much of the trash thrown, dumped, left on the roadside, parking lots, behind convenience stores and shopping centers, along with the oils and debris on paved surfaces, is washed into the lake. Trash can be seen flowing into Lake Allatoona from its many tributaries after a rain. Much of it flows in from the Etowah River, Little River and Noonday Creek. For example, Noonday Creek originates near Kennesaw Mountain and flows north to join Little River. The creek collects runoff and the trash, debris and contamination contained in it from all the retail and commercial establishments, residential communities, roads and highways from Kennesaw Mountain to Towne Lake.
“It is important to let everyone who lives, works and plays not just at Lake Allatoona but within the lake’s watershed to know that what they do affects the lake’s health and quality.” – Craig Myers