Low lake levels uncover treasures, trash

By Haywood Waterways Association | Mar 06, 2014
Photo by: Christine O'Brien Haywood Waterways Association volunteer cleanup group shows off their hard work. In the back from left to right: Robert Bradley, Ralphene Rathbone, Kevin Kirkpatrick, Kellye Slate, Beth Causey and Andrew Causey. Front left: Seamus Tignor and Keegan Kirkpatrick.

The warm weather on Feb. 22 made for a great day to pick up trash around Lake Junaluska. With lake levels down for maintenance, the timing was perfect for the group of nine volunteers armed with trash bags and grabbers to descend on the south end of the lake. The low water level unveiled all sorts of trash that had been collecting over time. In total, the group removed about 350 pounds of waste. Plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups were the most common trash items collected. The group also collected a wind chime, construction barrel, birdfeeder, and boat motor.

Normally a place of beauty for long walks, the lower water level revealed glass bottles and aluminum cans, lost clothing and shoes, pieces of old tires and Styrofoam plant trays, fishing lines and bait cups, and even an old boat motor,” said Beth Causey, one of the volunteers. “We left the area knowing new friends and happy that our efforts made a little part of Haywood County more like nature intended.  It was a good day.”

The trash comes from different places — careless boaters, people fishing along the lake’s edge, and passing cars and trucks. Then there is trash that comes from downtown Waynesville. Waynesville’s storm drains are a trash delivery system that leads directly to the lake. Trash that is washed into the stormdrains is dumped, untreated, into Richland Creek, which then flows into Lake Junaluska. All this trash can be reduced simply by being careful and curbing the littering in town and around the lake.

For those interested in participating in upcoming stream and lake cleanup events, send an email to Christine O’Brien at Christine.haywoodwaterways@gmail.com or call 476-4667.