Lake Cleanup

The annual ROR cleanup draws hundreds of volunteers who collect tons of trash.

Lake magazine will put a twist on its annual salute to Renew Our Rivers cleanup volunteers this year with the inaugural Golden Picker prize bag, which will be awarded to one lucky honor roll volunteer.

“When you take part in the annual Renew Our Rivers cleanup at Lake Martin on Nov. 1 and 2, take a photo – a selfie of yourself or your group or get a volunteer at one of the dumpster sites to take your picture with your trash. Then, email the photo to us along with a list of names of everyone in the picture. We’ll put all the names in a hat and draw out the name of this year’s Golden Picker prize winner,” said Betsy Iler, Lake’s managing editor. “We’ll include the photos of cleanup volunteers in our annual honor roll feature in the December issue of Lake. Send your cleanup photos to by Nov. 11.”

The bag – an official white Renew Our Rivers trash bag – will be filled with gifts and tied up with a golden trash picker for the lucky volunteer whose name is pulled.

 “The cleanliness of Lake Martin is near and dear to the hearts of the Lake magazine staff, and this is a way that we can show appreciation for the efforts of the  volunteers that turn out annually to scour the shoreline and lake roadways for litter,” Iler said. “We are supported in the Golden Picker prize project by local merchants and organizations that mirror the sentiment and have donated items.”

Inside the ROR bag, the winner will find tumblers and water bottles, T-shirts, koozies, hats and more that have been donated by local businesses and individuals to show their support for this annual cleanup effort. The bag also will include a $200 gift certificate to Niffer’s, donated by John Coley at Lake Martin Voice Realty. Additional items have been donated by Cloud Nine, Lake Martin Resource Association, Children’s Harbor, Main Street Alexander City, Goat Island caretakers Stacie and Ricky Baker, Wind Creek State Park and others.

“The annual cleanup is important to our Treasured Lake, and it wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of volunteers that turn out for this effort every year,” said cleanup coordinator and LMRA President John Thompson.

More than 105 tons of trash have been retrieved from Lake Martin’s shorelines and roadways since the Renew Our Rivers effort began here some 15 years ago, Thompson said.

Created 20 years ago by an Alabama Power employee, the Renew Our Rivers program was awarded the Governor’s Water Conservationist of the Year Award in August. More than 117,000 volunteers across the Southeast have collected more than 115 million pounds of trash and debris from Alabama Power reservoirs since the first cleanup on the Coosa River in Gadsden in 2000.

This year’s cleanup on Lake Martin will take place on Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2, with dumpsters located at the Kowaliga boat ramp, Wind Creek State Park Marina, Real Island Marina and at the Union boat ramp in the Blue Creek area. Supplies will be available from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at these locations, as well. Supplies also will be available, on Friday only, at Segars Crossroads on Young’s Ferry Road. LMRA members will be available at the dumpster sites to help unload vehicles during the cleanup hours.

Volunteers are encouraged to separate recyclables, which will be delivered to the Alexander City Recycling Center.

For information on the cleanup, visit or email Thompson at

To submit photos and enter names for the Golden Picker prize, email photos and the names of everyone in the pictures to