SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Chances are good that if you throw out a piece of trash in an area between Roan Mountain in Tennessee to Exit 7 in Virginia and it's not picked up, it will end up in Boone Lake.
And chances are that some volunteer will pick it up during the annual Boone Lake Cleanup Day, when those bits of trash turn into tons of trash.
The serenity and beauty of Boone Lake can be ruined by a single piece of trash either floating in the water or along its shoreline.
That shoreline is 133 miles or more and the watershed that feeds the lake is even larger. We were surprised at how far a piece of trash can travel to get into the lake. "It's trash that comes from anywhere in this Boone Watershed. Anywhere from Roan mountain to [Interstate 81] Exit 7 on the Virginia side," Russ Harrison with the Boone Lake Association said.
Even with signs and trash can made available at many of the lake access points tons of trash is picked up each year. "We generally take out anything from 20 to 30 tons each year and that includes wood debris. That's regular manmade trash and wood debris plus usually a couple hundred tires," Harrison said.
If you do the math, over the last 14 years of the annual cleanup adds up to over 400 tons that volunteers have picked up.
"It's useful not only to get the trash out of the lake. It's a big thing but it's useful for people to realize what a fragile lake we've got and to feel good about participating and being a part of it," he said.
It should make us all wonder about throwing trash anywhere in our region, because it all goes somewhere. "You toss it out on a big box store parking lot at Exit 7 and it doesn't get picked up by anybody, it's going into the storm drains. It's going to get blown into a creek and it's going to end up in Boone Lake, no doubt," Harrison adds.
The event gets under way at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. For more information click here.