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Smith Mountain Lake Cleanup Hauls In 34 Tons of Debris

Community volunteers collected more than 34 tons of debris as part of the 36th Annual Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake (TPISML) cleanup days according to the final 2024 collection report. Kristina Sage, one of the event’s organizers, said the amount collected throughout the month of May was nearly triple that of 2023.

“The event’s main day, May 4th, was chilly and rainy so we were thrilled with the turnout,” said Sage, executive director of the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission (TLAC), which organizes the program in collaboration with the Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) and the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC). “With the help of 336 volunteers, we collected an estimated 900 trash bags of debris that would have otherwise remained in or ended up in the lake.”

“We were extremely pleased with the success of the Gills Creek team, which worked with Appalachian Power’s barge and excavator. Also, volunteer Barb Ferrell spearheaded securing a neighborhood-funded independent contractor with a barge, to remove nearly 15 tons of debris from the Lovely Valley arm of Gills Creek. ”

Barb Ferrell lends a hand in her kayak.

As in past years, the TPISML committee relied on communities and homeowners/property owners associations to clean up their coves, along the shoreline, on the water or both.  Neighborhood groups, businesses, civic organizations, families and individuals were also encouraged to join the effort by joining these groups or by planning their own clean-up events anytime in May. Supplies were provided, as were several commercial dumpsters.

Civic organizations that participated included American Legion Post 62, Rocky Mount Rotary Club, SML Rotary Club, SML Lions Club, SML Marine Fire and Rescue, SML USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 81 and United Way of Roanoke Valley.

“The committee would also like to recognize the teams from Walnut Run and Harbor Village, as well as volunteer Joe Long, who generously donated his time coordinating the sites for this year’s event,” said SMLRCC Executive Director Andy Bruns. “Their commitment and participation were critical to this amazing outcome.”

Each volunteer received a commemorative T-shirt and was invited to attend a post-event celebration at Mango’s Bar & Grill with food, beverages and door prizes.

According to the report, volunteers covered more than 31 miles of shoreline, hauling off a vast amount of loose debris. Items collected included plastic and glass bottles, beverage cans, plastic bags, food wrappers, a push broom, tackle box, plastic chair, canoe, logs and tree branches.

“The health, beauty and safety of Smith Mountain Lake rely heavily on our annual cleanup days,” said SMLA President Bill Butterfield. “We are incredibly thankful for the amazing volunteers and generous sponsors who make Take Pride in SML such a success each year.”

The complete cleanup report can be accessed online at or at the TLAC office, which is located on the upper level of The Plaza, 400 Scruggs Road, Suite 200 in Moneta.

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