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Mission of The Smith Mountain Lake Association
Friends of the lake
Smith Mountain Lake Assocaion's Mission

Our Mission

The Association will represent its members on issues that affect Smith Mountain Lake and its watershed. Members’ interests will be advocated throughout the watershed and the Commonwealth, using education and information as the means to influence constructive outcomes. All governing documents, Conflict of Interest Policies and Financial Statements are available in the SMLA Office upon request (copying fees apply).

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History of SMLA
Helping to Preserve the Beauty of the Lake
Photos of the Cedar Cabin at LakeAway Vacation Rentals on Smith Mountain Lake

The dam at SML was completed in September of 1964 and the lake filled to the point that complete commercial operation commenced in March of 1966. The SML association was established in 1969 as a Businessman's Association with the mission to promote commercial development of the lake. At that point there was little development of any kind at the lake - just a few gas stations, a few country stores and one or two bait shacks in what would become early marinas. Land sold for $300 to $3000 per acre.

By 1970 the Association's name changed to its current wording. The business promotional role was dropped and the focus shifted to environmental and community life issues. The growth of the Association over the years has been a reflection of the problems it tackled. These include:

    Since SMLA came to be, they have been actively pursuing their mission. Below are some significant actions that resulted in a better Smith Mountain Lake.

    Convinced the City of Roanoke to upgrade its Waste Water Treatment Plant in the 70's.

    Facilitated the creation of the SML Marine Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department.

    Collaborated with Virginia Department of Games and Inland Fisheries (VA DGIF) for increased law enforcement coverage on the lake.

    Lobbied the three counties (Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania) to create the Policy Advisory Board--now named the Tri-County Lake Administrative Commission (TLAC).

    Provided funds for the installation of the first navigational markers on the lake.

    Provided scientific review to AEP for improved water level stability.

    Worked with Ferrum College to create, and continues to fund and staff the Water Quality Monitoring Program.

    Lobbied the three counties for zoning regulations throughout the lake area.

    Lobbied the legislature in Richmond for boating safety and education regulations.

    Initiated the Take Pride in SML annual clean-up; and collectively with AEP, this program continues to remove hundreds of tons of debris.

    Created the Water Safety Council to promote water safety awareness to the public and our members.

    Provided a strong voice encouraging construction of the State Park and lobbying for rip rapping its shoreline.

    Representation of our members to the surrounding local governments through participation on the TLAC Board.

    Provided members with discounts at local businesses through our Partner's Program.

    In partnership with TLAC, operated the Weed Monitoring/Control Program that introduced grass carp to the lake to eradicate invasive hydrilla.

    Raised awareness of the negative impact of high phosphorus fertilizer around the lake and the Roanoke, Salem and Vinton watershed - a significant influence towards promoting the sale of phosphorus-free fertilizers in VA.

    Created, financed and managed the local Save Our Streams program, working with the Master Naturalists to monitor inflows to the lake.

    Formed the Re-licensing Committee to provide community concerns to FERC.

    Provided representation on the AEP Steering Committee to review and request changes to the Shoreline Management Plan.

    Purchased the first pump-out boat for the Royal Flush Program. This program continues to pump out vessels at marinas to prevent human waste from being discharged into the lake.

    Created the Buffer Landscape Committee that offers free advice to lake homeowners on how to slow and filter water flow into the lake using native plants.

    Promoting/providing Environmental Education to the community, to area adults and youth on how to preserve and improve our environment

Over its 40+ year life span the SMLA has done much to ensure the future of Smith Mountain Lake will be long and full of promise of an enhanced life style for its residents.

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SMLA Committees & Councils
Volunteers to Protect the Lake
Committees and Councils of SMLA

SMLA Councils and Committees are served by our all volunteer member force. Below are a listing and short description of the Councils/Committees.

AEP Relicensing Liaison: SMLA members have been involved in the scope of AEP “Project” relicensing and have helped design specific, and often scientific studies to gain insight on how project operations impact the scenic, recreational and environmental aspects of FERC’s SML Project.

Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania County Government Liaisons: SMLA members attend County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings and report back to the SMLA BOD on issues that have potential to impact quality of life at the lake.

Buffer Landscaping: Member Master Gardeners have developed a protocol for the establishment of gardens of native vegetation within the first 25’ from the shoreline to filter contaminants and fertilizers flowing to the lake. Committee members help create demonstration gardens and provide on site advice to lake residents. This effort had much to do with the development and sale of Phosphorus-free fertilizers.

Cleanup: SMLA volunteers work hand in hand with AEP and TLAC on the “Take Pride” event that helps reduce the debris that might adversely impact boating safety and other recreational uses of the lake.

Environmental Education: Our all volunteer force works with both adults and school age students to educated them on the environmental issues associated with protecting the watershed and the lake.

Invasive Species: SMLA works with TLAC to avoid and control non-native aquatic and animal growth in the lake. Recent emphasis has been on control of hydrilla and avoidance of zebra mussels.

Lake Council: This SMLA Council provides technical oversight and management over all issues and committees that impact the environmental conditions of the lake. It concentrates on the technical issues that cannot be addressed by the overall BOD.

Royal Flush: During the summer months, SMLA provides pump out trucks to marinas to provide free disposal of marine heads. This effort goes a long way to reduce occurrences of e coli in our waters.

Maps: SMLA helped introduce navigational aids on SML. For years, SMLA has produced the “go-to” map that includes not only these aids, but also neighborhoods and their streets, as well as water depth.

Membership: This is one of our oldest and most important committees for the future of the Association.  Membership helps grow our influence, fund our programs, and set the direction for our future.

Partners: This committee serves to promote awareness of the Association by partnering with local businesses.  These Partner members pledge discounts to our members, promoting buying locally and creating incentives for membership.

Septic System Management: Not a formal committee, SMLA is dedicated to educating homeowners about the maintenance of their septic systems and the negative impact that it might have on our lake.

Stormwater Runoff Management: Not a formal committee, SMLA advises residents and land developers on techniques that helps to control runoff, which contains contaminants, from entering the lake.

Underground Storage Tanks: Not a formal committee. Our marinas and campgrounds have petroleum storage tanks that could substantially contaminate our lake waters.  SMLA collaborates with VA Department of Environmental Quality to monitor the condition of these storage tanks.

Water Level Management: SMLA subject matter experts review AEP’s hydraulic models and offer advice on how to promote more stable water level conditions on the lake through both dry and wet climatological conditions.

Water Quality Monitoring: Our largest program, SMLA’s volunteers work with Ferrum College to monitor the nutrients and lake water clarity, and the health of streams.

Water Safety Council: This Council, formed out of the old Boating Safety Committee, works cooperatively with VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, USCG Auxiliary, and local boating organizations to educate and improve recreational and boating safety on the waters of SML. Of note is their introduction of the “no wake zone” during the July 4th celebration.

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Reviews & Guest Book
See what others have to say
Reviews of LakeAway Vacation Rentals on Smith Mountain Lake

The following are reviews and guest book entries for Silver Bay View Cottages, owned and operated by Jim Erler, the founder of LakeAway.

(5/5)

WORDS CAN NOT DESCRIBE THE SERENITY OF THIS PLACE

We rented this house for a weekend for a get together with friends and their families. The house is well equipped, well maintained, providing wonderful views and lots of activities for every ones. Owner had been very gracious through out the rental and responded swiftly to any request we had. View from the deck, hot tub and yard is absolutely gorgeous. Location of the house is terrific; close to amenities and marinas. Boat traffic infront of the house is minimal so no noise at all. Fishing was good from the small dock. Early morning over looking the lake and fishing was unforgettable experience. There was only one problem... it ended so soon. I will definitely come back to Silver bay and rent the small cabin just for me and my wife... ;) Owners are very cooperative, courteous and helpful. I called them to ask about fishing and they guided me with great details and their website provides great deal of information and covers minute details.. Over all, 10/10.

(5/5)

AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL VACATION

This was absolutely one of the best trips. I worked very closely with the owners, whom checked on us upon our arrival, brought supplies (I had forgotten to purchase some needed items), and was very kind. In addition to the excellent service we received, the cottage was immaculate and the view was gorgeous. The house had everything we needed (including silverware, dishes, blankets, and cleaning supplies), game tables, a deck with grill, a hot tub, and stairs that led to a dock on the water. We also decided to bring our Vizsla who loved it! There was plenty of room for her to run around and because of the locataion, there was no need to worry about cars; the cottage is at the end of a private cul-de-sac, so there were no unwanted visitors. Overall, I would definitely recommend this cottage, or any owned by the same people. I will definitely be back!

(5/5)

RELAXING, REFRESHING, WONDERFUL.

We were looking for a change of pace as we typically go to OBX every year. We wanted to come to a place that offered something a little different and wanted to make some memories with the kids that would last a life time. We found that at SML and were extremely pleased with the main house at Silver Bay View Cottages. Great game room for the kids downstairs when we weren't on the water. The views from the deck and hot tub were breathtaking. Surprisingly, we could sit on the deck and not get eaten by mosquitoes. Many hours on the dock, in and out of the water. Lots of tubing, wake boarding, knee boarding, rope swinging, and hanging out on a few little beaches that we found. Also, we rented a boat from Mitchell's Point Marina and the staff was very friendly and they certainly took care of us during our stay. You probably won't spend much time in the house but we had a great experience in there as well. Very clean, lots of space and beds. The owner was wonderful and we enjoyed meeting him. There was even a problem with one of the beds and he fixed it for us within an hour. You can't beat that. All in all, a very memorable vacation and wonderful house. If you're looking to entertain a bunch of kids and their friends, the memories that you'll make here are hard to beat.

(5/5)

IT WAS PERFECT!

My husband dreamed of a place where we could kayak, hike and fish. Cabin 2 made his wish come true! The location and cabin were exactly as described. It was very quiet and peaceful. The view from the large deck that ran across the entire back of the cabin was breathtaking. The cabin itself was very clean and well- maintained. We appreciated the high quality of the amenities --- furniture, kitchenware, dinnerware, glassware, t.v. The queen bed was comfortable as was our son's twin bed. I especially appreciated the modern, new bathroom sink! The owner communicated with us promptly and provided good information about the area. We only ventured out of the area to go hiking at the State Park which was under a 12 minute drive. Most of the time was spent kayaking and fishing. Although the cabin is located high above the dock, we had no problem carrying our kayak down the well-kept stairs to the water. As for fishing, my husband and son enjoyed catching 8 fish(catfish and carp) in one day. Some were caught from the kayak, but most were caught directly from the dock. 

(5/5)

THE DESCRIPTION SAYS IT ALL!

My best friend and I came to Cabin 2 at Smith Mountain Lake for a girls getaway weekend. We found a piece of heaven waiting for us! Out of all the numerous cabins on the lake, Cabin 2 has the best view by far--aside from one tree, a completely obstructed view of the lake and surroundings. The pictures online don't even do justice to the breathtaking view and beauty of the cabin. The owner provided excellent customer service from start to finish. Cabin 2 was immaculately maintained, and we found everything we needed. We enjoyed a sunrise on the dock, sunset on the deck, and everything in between. We loved it so much we didn't venture anywhere else until we departed for home! One thing we loved was the quietness and solitude, especially on the dock and deck. The only sound we heard was the birds! Before we left Cabin 2, we marked our calendar for our fall visit and made the reservation shortly after returning home--a testimony to how much we enjoyed our time there. I would highly recommend this cabin. It truly is a private paradise.

(5/5)

WE HAD A GREAT TIME!

We spent three days in the cabin and had a wonderful time. We didn't want to leave! It was great to have our dogs with us and they were able to swim all day. The cabin was very clean and well kept. Nice sunsets and overall very relaxing. We intend on going back in the future! The owner was very helpful with us in working out a time we could come when our original dates fell through!

(5/5)

LATE APRIL AT SML

Our stay at Silver Bay on Smith Mountain Lake was fantastic. The place is a perfect combination of lakefront, house space, spectacular views, comfortable accommodations, convenience to marinas, quiet cove, and activities for the kids and dogs! The hot tub was the bonus! The kids had a fabulous time and the dogs slept for days when we got home! Nothing like a warm end-of-April weekend just right for the year's first swimming, fishing, grilling, boating, and quiet early mornings overlooking the lake! The only problem was I had to go back to work on Monday!

(5/5)

WONDERFUL RELAXING STAY AT THE CEDAR CABIN

This was made at the last minute, and the owner was extremely accommodating. The property was just as described, clean, and comfortable. We were looking for a place on the lake to moor our boat while we stayed, and the Cedar Cabin was just the ticket. We were provided with information about dining on the lake, and enjoyed the hot tub. Everything was perfect, thank you so much. 5 STARS! 

(5/5)

HEAVENLY

Love being in a no wake cove that is so deep and across from a wildlife preserve. This is our 3rd visit and we had such a good time kayaking and water skiing. The cabin is cozy and comfortable. Best of all our dog Annie is welcome too. This is our home away from home : )! We plan to come back next year

(5/5)

EXCELLENT PLACE TO STAY

My husband and I love to travel with our dogs. This cabin was perfect. We were close to several places to go hiking and we had the dock at the cabin that we could all enjoy going swimming. The weather was could not have been any better. The cabin was very clean and well maintained. I would recommend this to anyone that wants to come for a fun time. We can't wait to go back.

(5/5)

SILVER BAY VIEW COTTAGES ON SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE

This was our second year in cabin 1. There were many upgrades, furniture, bedding, tv, internet... A very pleasant cozy cabin for our family for a very reasonable price. The best part of all is that our dog Annie was welcome. We all enjoyed the cool, clean water and exploring the nature preserve from our kayaks.

(5/5)

RELAXING & BEAUTIFUL!

My husband and I rented this cabin for our anniversary, and we had such a great, relaxing weekend! The cabin provided everything we needed, and the view was gorgeous. The lake is clean, clear, and great for swimming - right off the dock even! Even better, we were able to bring our dog, making the weekend a win overall. I'd highly recommend this cabin, and we'd like to come back in the future.

(5/5)

JUST WHAT WE NEEDED

As owner/operators of a long haul truck, our dog and I usually load up and take a working vacation each summer with my husband. This summer we opted to do something different, especially since we now have 2 dogs. This little cabin on the lake was the perfect get away and we were so blessed to be able to bring our two labs along. The listing description was accurate, the property was clean and well-maintained and the owner was very pleasant to talk to and very helpful. We spent a few days just relaxing around the cabin and swimming with the dogs each day. The gated deck was wonderful for the dogs to be able to be outside if they wanted. One day we took a ride to the Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitor Center where we learned about the lake and the dam. Another day we rented a pontoon boat from Parkway Marina and spent the day checking out the surrounding area from the lake. We had an awesome vacation, plan on returning and would highly recommend the property. The only down/con of this property would be all the steps to get down to the dock.

(5/5)

OUTSTANDING VIEW AND WELCOMING CABIN

Cabin was very clean and well maintained. The cabin had everything you would need. Very accommodating and friendly owners. We had a great visit. Would definitely come back. Thank you.

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