Monday, April 23rd, 2012
By Daily Standard Staff
Cold, few workers limit lake cleanup
By NANCY ALLEN and WILLIAM KINCAID
A few coolers, a 6-foot-long piece of floating dock and a bicycle were some of the items pulled from Grand Lake over the weekend during the annual cleanup day.
About 60 volunteers picked up 36 bags of trash, down from the 100 volunteers last year that picked up the equivalent of 30 dump truck loads. A dozen park staff also helped this year, said Dave Faler, assistant manager at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.
"We're guessing it (attendance) was down based on the weather," Faler said. "I checked the weather channel and it said we had 40 degrees and with the wind chill it felt like 30."
Armed with several trash bags, Charles Heckler, an assistant technician with the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Thomas Watercutter, a maintenance repair worker at Lake Loramie State Park, waited at the West Bank on the cold, gray Saturday morning for helpers to arrive.
Volunteers were asked to meet at East and West Bank boat launch areas and at Windy Point to receive bags and gloves before being disbursed along state park land.
Heckler, who has helped with the cleanup for three years, said civic organizations and individuals and their friends - many who spend their mornings walking or running around the lake anyway - usually help out.
"But with this weather," he said.
The newspaper only spotted two children picking up trash at Windy Point in Montezuma. Two Girl Scout groups, one from St. Henry and one from Celina, also helped, as did three church groups from St. Marys. A group of people also picked up trash at Behm's Landing, Faler said.
Bottles, paper and other trash accumulate around the lake during winter months.
"A lot of it is blown around - it gets away from people," Heckler said.
There were far less trash and debris to pick up this year.
Large items consisting mostly of wood were removed from the lake during last year's cleanup after heavy winds and flooding washed all types of debris, including a John Boat and portable toilet, into the lake.
Faler said two state park staff used boats to pick up trash and debris along the shoreline from the state boat launch area on West Bank to Coldwater Creek.
The cleanup was sponsored by the nonprofit Lake Improvement Association, the state park and the Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed Alliance.
Watercutter said state workers from regional parks now work together on projects throughout the area.
"We're just trying to be more efficient," Watercutter said, pointing out state parks now have reduced staffs.
Workers from various parks this winter helped remove 130 trees affected by Emerald Ash Borer at Lake Loramie State Park, Watercutter said.
Workers also came together to repair broken water lines at Madison Lake, he said.
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