Lake Cleanup

Keeping trash and debris out of the lake.

SMLA, in cooperation with the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission, co-sponsors the premier “Take Pride in SML” annual lake clean-up days.

Floating obstacles can be a boater’s worst nightmare. Hitting a tree, piece of lumber, or even a plastic bag can disable or severely damage a boat. Additionally, windblown trash can collect in the coves and on the shorelines.  AEP has the responsibility to remove hazards to navigation in open waters and to remove material that results in adverse aesthetic impacts. They own a floating excavator that scoops up large quantities of debris, like trees, branches, man-made items like parts of docks along with the trash that mixes in. As of October this year, AEP has removed over 1,700 tons of debris from Smith Mountain Lake. Due to the difficulty of accessing the hundreds of coves in SML, AEP cannot clear the shallow water coves that usually hold similar items that have been pushed by the prevailing winds towards the ends of these coves – and this is where our volunteers come in. Over the years, SMLA and their volunteers, in cooperation with AEP and trash disposal services, have worked diligently to remove these unsightly items enhancing the overall beauty of the lake. The biggest volunteer effort, Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake, occurs the first part of May, and has been going on for the last 31 years. For the May 2021 event, over 16 tons of debris were removed from 48 miles of cove shoreline in the lake through the efforts of 166 dedicated volunteers like you. Details may be found at


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