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Over 1000 Volunteers Turn Out to Clean Up Lake Wylie

Over 1000 Volunteers Turn Out to Clean Up Lake Wylie

Saturday, October 4, was a beautiful day for volunteers to pick up trash from around Lake Wylie. Over 1,000 people came out to 14 different locations to pick up approximately 29,000 pounds of trash. For the first time, kayaks were used to gather trash in shallow areas that are not easily accessible with a larger boat.

Over 1000 Volunteers Turn Out to Clean Up Lake Wylie

Trash Collected at Riversweep

LAKE WYLIE, SC – It was an absolutely beautiful Saturday on October 4th, when more than 1,000 volunteers scoured the shoreline, creeks and coves of Lake Wylie and collected a total of 5 and 1/2 dumpsters of trash and debris – more than 14 tons in all.

The haul included 109 tires, 21 lawn chairs, 82 heavy Styrofoam® blocks from boat docks, 646 bags of trash and 73 bags of recyclables. Plus, there was the usual array of oddities such as a snowboard, a snow sled, 2 boggie boards, a hobbyhorse and a wrought iron table with 5 matching chairs!

2014 Riversweep

“Though it's disheartening to see what people throw in the lake, the good news is that the amount of trash collected is down, by almost 1/3, from what was hauled in last year,” said Neil Brennan, co-chair of the Riversweep Planning Group and a Lake Wylie Marine Commissioner.

“Maybe the message, ‘Stow it, don't throw it’ is getting through to people who use and enjoy the lake,” said Brennan, who is seeing the positive effect boaters, fishermen and residents can have on a body of water they care about.

It is also possible that the decrease in trash was due to moderate weather in 2014. In 2013, there was  a lot of flooding that washed a lot of trash into the lake. 

The Riversweep message was delivered through broadcast, print, web and social media, and made possible by the generous support of long-time partners, business and philanthropic donors and new sponsors. Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and Lake Wylie Marine Commission partnered with PalmettoPride, Lake Wylie Rotary Club Foundation, Charlotte Ski Boats, York County Hospitality Tax Foundation and York County Keep America Beautiful.

“All of the volunteers who lend their time and energy to this annual event appreciate the support of our partners, donors and sponsors,” said Ellen Goff, co-chair of the Riversweep Planning Group and board member of Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. “We are profoundly grateful for their contributions,” said Goff.

In the early morning light, volunteers gathered at 14 locations around the lake to pick up trash, litter, junk and debris from the shoreline. Many went aboard one of more than 60 boats enlisted to transport participants to clean

up areas on the lake and haul collected trash to one of 12 dumpsters provided by the local counties.

This year, for the first time the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and the National Whitewater Center provided kayaks to volunteers at several locations. Kayaks have always served an important role during Riversweep by allowing volunteers to paddle in and clean up shallow coves and waterways that are unreachable by boat.

At the Seven Oaks bridge volunteer site, 15 high school students from Walnut Grove Christian School in Fort Mill, SC, collected 22 bags of trash, several tires, various plastic toys, lots of softballs and one very large Styrofoam® dock float from Catawba Creek on Lake Wylie.

2014-10-4 kayakers in Catawba Cove during Riversweep

“Riversweep is making a difference because of the support from our volunteers,” said CD Collins, Riversweep Planning Group member and one of the original organizers of the clean up. “We are so fortunate to have people who return year after year to continue this important work. Together, we're making progress toward a litter-free Lake Wylie,” said Collins.       

2014-10-04 Lake Wylie Riversweep

Additional information about Riversweep from the Lake Wylie Pilot is available here.

Additional photos of Riversweep can been viewed at


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