PRESTONSBURG — Over 300 volunteers arrived to pick up litter at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park for its annual Operation Clean Sweep event on Saturday.
Volunteers were treated to a midday cookout, and those who collected two bags of trash were given a free “Operation Clean Sweep” t-shirt. Numerous groups were on hand, including the Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, PRIDE groups with Prestonsburg Elementary and Betsy Layne Elementary, the Pike County Central and Allen Central JROTC programs, a class of students from Big Sandy Community and Technical College, the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps—all in addition to the Corps of Engineers and park staff that pitched in.
“It was one of the best cleanups we’ve had in a long time… over the last five or six years, it’s probably the biggest crowd we’ve had,” says Julian Slone, park manager for Jenny Wiley.
Volunteers picked up over 300 bags of trash, as well as litter too big to bag, including an abandoned washing machine.
Camping enthusiast Shannon Parsons was one of the volunteers on hand. “I really think that the litter on our lake shores and roadsides is a community problem, and up to the community to fix,” she said. “I just wanted to do my part.”
Slone attributes the large turnout to local media spreading the word, the generosity of volunteers and groups who banded together—and Saturday’s beautiful weather, of course.
The week before Operation Clean Sweep, volunteers with the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps went out on pontoon boats and pulled 2.7 tons of trash from Dewey Lake in a span of just three days.
“We are very thankful for the community support,” Slone added. “We don’t have the resources, and the Corps [of Engineers] doesn’t have the resources, to keep the trash off the lake and the roadsides. We do the best we can with the resources we have. So we are so thankful to have the community support the park the way it does.”