More than 60 volunteers from throughout Haywood County converged at Lake Junaluska on April 13 and picked up 100 bags of trash as part of the annual Lake Junaluska Cleanup Day. The Junaluskans, a volunteer organization of persons who love Lake Junaluska, worked in conjunction with Lake Junaluska staff members to organize the event.
“It was wonderful that the sun came out, and that there was so much enthusiasm among the volunteers,” said Ken Zulla, a Junaluskan who has served as Lake Cleanup Day coordinator for more than 15 years. “It was truly a community experience.”
Participants ranging from children to retirees gathered before the cleanup to register, enjoy drinks and snacks, and gather supplies such as garbage bags, litter pick-up sticks and gloves. Zulla assigned volunteers areas to clean, including the lake and lakeshore and parts of County Road, Access Road and Highway 19. Some participants set out on foot and others by canoe. Items picked up during the event included plastic, small pieces of debris, a few tires and even a $20 bill.
Several participants told Zulla that while they don’t live at Lake Junaluska, they came because they walk there regularly and want to help keep it beautiful. Zulla said he participates because, for him, “the whole lake is my home, and I want to take care of it just as I would my home.”
For Jimmy Pennell, a Lake Junaluska resident and longtime Lake Cleanup Day participant, the event is not only enjoyable but also, he said, “an opportunity to express appreciation to Lake Junaluska for all that it provides to our community.”
Ken Howle, executive director of Lake Junaluska, said he is grateful for the outpouring of support and appreciates volunteers like Ken Zulla who organized the event.
“The grounds look fantastic, and we are thankful to everyone who helped,” said Howle. “Lake Junaluska Cleanup Day is an important community event that brings people who love Lake Junaluska together to give back to a place that means so much to so many.”
The recreation trails and grounds of Lake Junaluska are open to all who live in and visit Haywood County, and are maintained with help from volunteers and by charitable contributions. For more information about ways to support recreation opportunities at Lake Junaluska, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/support.
Lake Junaluska is a conference and retreat center and residential community that surrounds a 200-acre mountain lake in Western North Carolina. Lake Junaluska’s mission is to be a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information, visit www.lakejunaluska.com.