LAKE HOPATCONG - The massive lake-wide cleanup spearheaded by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation and scheduled for Saturday, November 9, is moving ahead as planned with well over 300 volunteers signed up to help in the effort.
With the five-year sixty-inch drawdown complete, the water in Lake Hopatcong is at its lowest level, exposing a large portion of the 2,600-acre lake shoreline.
“With multiple hurricane events in recent years, along with the usual accidental loss of items from the shoreline and boat traffic, odds are high that we have a collection of items in the lake bed that shouldn’t be there,” said Lake Hopatcong Foundation president Jessica K. Murphy. “I’m so impressed by the community, local governments, and other groups for coming together for such a worthy effort.”
Organizing the event is Donna Macalle-Holly, coordinator and grants administrator for the Foundation. Macalle-Holly has spent countless hours recruiting and coordinating volunteers, making sure that as much of the shoreline as possible will be searched by volunteers. She is confident the cleanup will go off without a hitch.
“Logistically it’s been difficult because we have limited access,” said Macalle-Holly, who because of a combination of legal access, water level and muck along the shoreline has been assigning teams of volunteers specific locations around the lake.
Representatives from the four lake towns, Morris and Sussex counties, the Musconetcong Watershed Association, Hopatcong State Park and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will all lend assistance in the cleanup.
A similar cleanup was conducted in 2003 when items from shopping carts to cell phones to car batteries were pulled from the lake.
“I really think its great the number of volunteers and the diversity of the groups involved are showing support for Lake Hopatcong,” said Macalle-Holly. “If Mother Nature cooperates and all the volunteers show up it will be a great success,” she said.
According to Macalle-Holly, Bridgestone Retail Operations (BSRO) will be the recipient of any tires that are salvaged during the cleanup as part of the company’s Spent Tire Program, which facilitates the collection and recycling of improperly discarded tires from parks, waterways and other public areas.
“We’re glad to be part of this effort to clean up Lake Hopatcong and to put the salvaged tires to another valuable re-use,” said John Sheerin, Environmental Director, BSRO. “Our company takes our environmental responsibility seriously, and community events like this help us demonstrate that.”
“The event will be a success regardless of the amount of debris we take out,” said Macalle-Holly. “If we’re not getting the same amount of debris we pulled out in 2003 that’s a good thing because that means the lake is being cared for,” she said.