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Annual lake cleanup to kick off May 1
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Annual lake cleanup to kick off May 1

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Annual lake cleanup to kick off May 1

Volunteers with Appalachian Power help with debris collection during a 2019 Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake cleanup event. The event was canceled last year.

Organizers of Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake recently announced details of a modified version of SML’s annual cleanup initiative.

“We were so disappointed when we had to cancel last year’s event due to the pandemic, so the committee really wanted to come up with a way to have Take Pride this year, but do it in a manner safe for all volunteers,” said Paula Shoffner, executive director of the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission.

TLAC organizes the program in collaboration with the Smith Mountain Lake Association and Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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SMLA President John Rupnik explained that the committee will rely 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 are encouraged to join the effort by joining these groups or by planning their own clean-up events anytime in May.

“This plan allows people to pick any day or days in May that work for them, which makes it super convenient and allows the SML community to come together for this critical initiative,” said Cheryl Ward, the chamber’s interim director. “Everyone wants the lake looking its best prior to boating season, so we encourage everyone who uses and enjoys the lake to take a few hours and volunteer.”

Rupnik said organizers will continue to support the effort by providing free heavy-duty trash bags and gloves, as well as offering up to $400 in reimbursement for groups that use dumpsters for their events. “We’re able to make those accommodations because of our amazing sponsors, who have continued to donate generously to Take Pride in SML,” he said.

Registration for the cleanup initiative is required by May 1 for volunteers to receive free gloves, orange trash bags and a commemorative gift.

More information, including how to register, is at

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