Hundreds come to clean up Laurel River Lake

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Even though it was cold and rainy, some folks in eastern Kentucky headed to the beach.

Around 300 people came to Whitley County to help with the Laurel River Lake Clean Up.

"We have volunteers that are out in the boats, we have volunteers that are on the shoreline, around some of the picnic areas, camping areas, trails and they are just cleaning up our region, our community," said Mark Davis of PRIDE.

This is the 24th year of the event which takes place the Saturday before Earth Day. Everyone has their reasons for helping.

"My overall goal really is to get these kids sensitive about the environment we live in," said Lt. Col. Rick McClure, a volunteer who brought the NJROTC group from Corbin High School with him.

Davis said it is about more than just being kind to the environment.

"You have a one shot of making a good impression on someone and tourism is huge in southern and eastern Kentucky and we have to take advantage of that," said Davis.
"People are coming in to enjoy our rivers and lakes and the beauty that we have here, it needs to be nice and clean."

Organizers of the event said that despite the rainy weather, they still had really good turn out and a lot of people showed up to pick up trash. Davis said they will not know how much trash was picked up until the dumpsters are taken back on Monday.

Davis said the event started with the U.S. Department of Forestry 24 years ago and PRIDE has been involved since its start 15 years ago.

"I can't believe the turnout we have had today with the weather situation that we have had," said Davis.
"I mean it has been pouring rain and they have been lining up this morning coming in, so, it's wonderful."

Some said the goal is to educate future generations.

"I wish we could get more people out here being a part of this, so we would have fewer people out here dumping the trash that we have to clean up," said McClure.

One woman who has been volunteering at the event for over two decades said she wanted to set an example for her grandchildren and all others children.

"It teaches them not to actually throw garbage out too," said Joyce Hellard of Friends of Laurel Lake.
"A lot of parents and other people throw it out the window. and this is teaching them not to do that."

Volunteers say it's one way to leave an impact.

The slogan for this month's event was "saving our world, one clean up at a time."

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