Gaston & Catawba

Mount Holly joins Riversweep this Saturday

Mount Holly's Riverfront community will join Harbortown Marina and Seven Oaks Bridge in Belmont as volunteer sites for this year's Riversweep.

The seventh annual Lake Wylie clean-up will be 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday.

“Now that we have the Riverfront community in Mount Holly, we can do a better job of covering the entire lake,” says C.D. Collins, a Belmont resident who serves as Gaston County Regional Covekeeper and a member of the Catawba Riverkeeper Board of Directors. “We've always had a fair number of volunteers around Seven Oaks and Harbortown, but now we can go much farther north.”

For Riversweep, volunteers gather at locations around the lake to pick up gloves, bags and bottled water. Pontoon boats, ideal for reaching shallow water, will ferry volunteers to clean-up locations and carry trash back to dumpsters.

Collected trash also can be dropped off by boat on the Riversweep barge cruising from the Lake Wylie dam to the Buster Boyd Bridge.

At 1 p.m., volunteers will gather at T-Bones for free food and drinks and raffle prizes.

Each year, volunteers collect stacks of discarded tires and Styrofoam blocks from floating piers. Among the more unusual finds in the past: half-submerged refrigerators and stoves, car hoods and doors, old jet tanks and newspaper racks.

“It's just unbelievable,” says Collins. “This lake is so pretty. I don't see how anyone could put these things into the water.”

Last year, low lake levels due to drought helped volunteers collect 32 tons of trash. Organizers expect more than 200 people to participate this fall.

“Once people get out there and learn what's involved, they see how important of a job this really is,” says Collins. “It's not just for people who live on the lake. It's for anyone who loves this river like we do.”