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Lake Cleanup

February 20, 26 & 27, 2021 
Update 2/22/2021: We are excited to share that all volunteer spots have been filled for the 2021 Lake Cleanup! Thank you for your support. Also due to the weather forecast, the time for al Lake Cleanup days will be noon to 4 p.m.

Show your love for Lake Junaluska and take part in one of our Lake Cleanup Days this February! This year’s annual lake cleanup will be much different than in previous years as we take additional safety precautions in light of COVID-19. Learn more about the event and safety precautions below, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) and register online(Note: Registration has closed for the 2021 Lake Cleanup) 

This annual community event is organized by the Junaluskans working in conjunction with Lake Junaluska staff and in partnership with Haywood Waterways. The Junaluskans are a volunteer organization of Junaluska residents and other persons who love Lake Junaluska. Haywood Waterways is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and improving surface water quality in the Pigeon River Watershed of Haywood County.

This year's cleanup coincides with the draw-down of the lake, offering additional access to pick up debris along the shoreline! 

WHEN: There will be multiple opportunities to help clean up the lake— Saturday, February 20; Friday, February 26; and Saturday, February 27. The cleanup times will be from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 20, and from noon to 4 p.m. on February 26 & 27. By offering multiple cleanup dates, volunteers will be able to come at different times and make it easier to social distance. And, you or your group will have a four-hour window to take part in the cleanup.  You don’t have to work all four hours!  An area cleanup typically takes two hours or less, depending on the size of the cleanup crew. UPDATE 2/22/2021: Due to the weather forecast, the cleanup day times will move to noon to 4 p.m.

PREREGISTER: Volunteers and groups must preregister using Lake Junaluska's online volunteer registration form. (Note: Registration for the 2021 Lake Cleanup has closed.) If you are a group leader, please make sure you indicate this on the volunteer form. The cleanup organizer will contact each preregistered volunteer within 48 hours of the cleanup date you choose, provide you with an area to clean up, and directions to that area. Preregisteing enables the cleanup coordinator to plan the event such that volunteers can safely socially distance while productively picking up trash!

HOW IT WORKS: Individuals and volunteer groups will go directly to their assigned work sites, where they will find trash bags and grabbers. Each work site will be numbered, and the boundaries of each work area will be clearly marked. When the work site has been cleaned, volunteers will leave the bags of trash and grabbers at the work site. Another group of “pick up” volunteers will collect and dispose of the filled trash bags, and collect the grabbers for disinfecting. 

Lake Cleanup Day

Lake Cleanup FAQs


When is the cleanup?  Noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 20; Friday, February 26, and Saturday, February 27. UPDATE 2/22/2021: Due to the weather forecast, all cleanup day times will be noon to 4 p.m.

How do I sign up?  Sign up online at There is a volunteer form that you will fill out.  The cleanup coordinator will then contact you and give you an area to clean up. (Note: Registration for the 2021 Lake Cleanup has closed.) 

Can’t I just show up, like I’ve done in the past?  Due to COVID-19, we are unable to meet in large gatherings.  This year, all volunteers will proceed directly to their cleanup sites.

Where should I park?  There is an abundance of parking locations on the north side of Lake Junaluska:  Near the swimming pool, along the Rose Walk, and by Memorial Chapel.  Parking along South Lakeshore is limited.  Please do not park in someone’s private driveway unless you have permission.  The cleanup coordinator will discuss parking options with you, when he assigns you a cleanup area.

Will there be coffee and goodies provided at the Kern Center?  No, not this year!  Due to COVID, we will avoid all large gatherings during this lake cleanup.

Are there any restrooms open to cleanup volunteers?  There will be two restrooms locations open for your use:  One next to the kayak rack by the swimming pool, and the other is in the Harrell Center, where Junaluska Gifts & Grounds is located.  Both of these locations are on the north side of the lake.

Do I have to wear a mask?  The current guidelines require that you wear a mask outdoors, when you are unable to maintain safe social distancing.  So, please bring a mask and wear it when appropriate.

What will the weather be like?  The long-range forecast calls for daytime highs to be 46-52 degrees.  Expect some precipitation.  However, by scheduling cleanup for two days in two separate weeks, we have tried to minimize the possibility of being completely rained out.

What if it is raining on the day I want to clean up?  We’ve provided a 4-hour window on each cleanup day.  Hopefully, the rain won’t fall the whole time.  However, if it does, contact the cleanup coordinator and reschedule for another date-if possible.  No one should be working out in a steady downpour.

What should volunteers bring/wear?  Muck boots, gloves, eye protection, warm clothes (dress in layers), and a garden claw rake.  A 5-gallon bucket to put trash in really helps the cleanup effort when there’s a wind blowing.  Fill the bucket and then transfer the trash into a bag.  Also, bring an extra set of shoes and a trash bag to put your muck boots in.  You will get muddy!

Where exactly am I supposed to pick up the trash?  Focus on cleaning above and below the normal shoreline, where there is a line of bushes and other vegetation.  The normal shoreline will be well above the current waterline.  Your cleanup area will be clearly marked.  So, you shouldn’t have to get within 10-20 feet of the current waterline.

What DO you want me to pick up?  Pick up the following items:

• Metal cans
• Plastic bottles
• Glass—of all kinds
• Styrofoam products—cups, meal containers,
• Fishing line, hooks, lures, and bait containers
• Tires, plastic buckets, flower pots, pipes
• Needles.  Place them in a plastic bottle and keep them separate from other trash
• Anything else that doesn’t belong in the lake.

 What DON’T you want me to pick up?

• Construction wood products (building material)
• Driftwood
• Concrete blocks
• Dead animals

I don’t want to get muddy.  Is there someplace else I can help clean up?  Of course, we always want to clean up along Highway 19 because that trash easily migrates into the lake.  County road can be cleaned up as well.  We can also have a group of volunteers picking up trash on the campus, around the buildings.  Please let the cleanup coordinator know what you would like to do. 

What if my group can’t clean up the entire area assigned?  Call the cleanup coordinator and tell him how much you were able to accomplish.

Can homeowners just go out on their own and collect trash?  Yes, but they will have to contact the cleanup coordinator if they need bags and grabbers, and the grabbers will have to be returned before February 19th.  For those who do not live at the lake, please try to clean up during one of the dates allotted.

Who is the Cleanup Coordinator?  Jim Pearson is this year’s cleanup coordinator. Contact him at 502-419-3035 with any additional questions.