DVIDS – News – Volunteers clean up Cumberland Lake on National Public Lands Day


SOMERSET, Ky. (September 28, 2021) – More than 120 volunteers collected 276 bags of garbage, 53 farm and car tires, an old floating dock, a metal railing with stairs and a doghouse in a community effort to clean up Cumberland Lake on National Public Lands Day.

Volunteers left at 8 a.m. on September 25 on boats to pick up trash from the shore at Halcomb’s Landing in Jamestown, Burnside Island State Park in Burnside, Waitsboro Recreation Area in Somerset, Conley Bottom Resort in Monticello, Lake Cumberland State Park in Jamestown, and Safe Harbor Grider Hill in Albany. They came back at noon and threw tons of garbage in dumpsters.

Park Ranger Dylan Norton, who helped organize the Lake Cumberland cleanup effort, said he was amazed by the volunteers and the amount of garbage collected.

“I think today’s event went very well all things considered, COVID-19 being one of them,” Norton said. “We had a lot of dumpsters filled and we took a lot of tires out of the lake – a lot of unnecessary garbage that pollutes our lake. So I would say today’s event was a success.

A team of a dozen volunteers from Hinkle Contracting Company, LLC, collected debris off the Waitsboro Recreation Area and transported it in dump trucks for disposal. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Service along with volunteer groups like Pulaski County High School Future Farmers of America and Junior ROTC worked around the lake to pick up trash and move it to designated boat ramps.

Hailey Heins, a sophomore and ROTC junior cadet at Pulaski County High School, said she volunteered because, quite simply, she wanted to help the environment.

“It is very important to help keep it clean,” she stressed. “We collect the garbage… we found a cooler, glass bottles, inflatables, things like that. “

Heins’ classmate Donovan Schneider, an ROTC junior freshman, said doing good with nature is worth his time and effort to pick up trash at Cumberland Lake. And it has a message for people who visit and recreate on public land and water.

“Please stop throwing your garbage in the water. There’s fish in there, good ones too, and they’re delicious, ”said Schneider. “If you have garbage on the bank, bring a garbage bag. Help out a bit by picking up your own trash.

Michael Lapina, US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District operations project manager for the Eastern Kentucky region, explained that the lake fluctuates between spring when the reservoir has more water and fall when the water level is lower.

“When the lake is rising, the garbage flows downstream as far east as Harlan County. When the lake is full, the wind deposits the waste in the creeks. Then when the lake goes down it gets trapped here, sometimes in log piles and sometimes along the shore, ”Lapina said.

Lake Cumberland is the largest lake by volume east of the Mississippi River. With 1,255 miles of shoreline and hundreds of coves, there are plenty of places where trash can be picked up and stored.

In a cove during the cleanup effort, a volunteer found a large turtle trapped under debris. The environmental mission has temporarily turned into a wildlife rescue.

Ironically, Cmdr. Jennifer Andrew discovered the turtle while collecting trash and quickly coordinated efforts to free it. She happened to command the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Paducah, Ky., And volunteered to pick up trash while camping in Burnside Island State Park.

Andrew worked to move logs pinning the turtle and enlisted Lapina to help get the turtle out of harm’s way so she could return to Cumberland Lake. The captain thought the turtle may have died, but seemed happy when it started showing signs of life.

Lapina said rescuing a turtle was no less important than rescuing Lake Cumberland. He encourages people not to throw trash because if they enter a ditch, they will find their way into a stream and into the lake. “Prevention is the key here,” he said.

The Cumberland Lake cleanup is supported by the US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, the National Environmental Education Foundation’s National Public Lands Day, and Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, which stands for “personal responsibility in a desirable environment.”

NEEF’s National Public Lands Day is the country’s largest one-day volunteer event for public lands. Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, this celebration brings together thousands of volunteers to help restore and improve public lands across the country.

Norton said he hopes to expand this event next year with more volunteers so that there is a more positive impact on the environment. When there is less waste and debris, visitors can enjoy clean water and safely recreate themselves, he added.

(The public can get news, updates and information from the US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the District website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com / nashvillecorps and on Twitter at www. twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Lake Cumberland on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lakecumberland.)

Date taken: 28.09.2021
Date posted: 09/28/2021 4:44 PM
Story ID: 406232
Site: SOMERSET, Kentucky, United States

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