Located in the Appalachian Mountains, in the state of Maryland, the multi-use Greenbrier State Park provides a cool respite from the summer heat by offering a wealth of recreational activities. Part of the park is the man-made freshwater Greenbrier Lake, a popular getaway for swimmers, sunbathers and fishers, which every year undergoes cleanup by many volunteer scuba divers from throughout the state area.

This year was no exception. A set of yellow, blue, or green flippers occasionally appeared Sunday morning beyond the rope line bordering the swimming area at Greenbrier Lake, which then disappeared and scuba divers’ heads bobbed the surface. The aim of the event was to clean up trash from the bottom of the lake and the participants, a group of 30 divers, managed to haul away a variety of items from the lake from plastic trash to hair ties and fishing gear. The trash found also included $6 in cash, clothes, a pearl earring, Mardi Gras beads and a bait bucket.

According to David Stealey, co-owner of Hagerstown’s Blue Marble Divers shop, and Tammy McCorkle, assistant park manager at Greenbrier, this is an annual event, which has been organized for 10 years already. The cleanup lasted approximately 90 minutes and all of the divers left with some kind of prize for their efforts.

After collecting trash, the divers spread their finds out for display and prizes were awarded for a number of categories, including most fishing line, clothing largest and most unique. The trash taken away by the divers will help to protect both people using the lake for swimming or fishing, as well as wildlife in the area, McCorkle said. For instance, monofilament fishing line found in the lake, winds up killing a few waterfowl or turtles that get wrapped up in the material each year.

With 2,000 visitors on a summer weekday and about 3,000 to 5,000 visitors on a summer Saturday or Sunday, the park is definitely well worth to be always clean both above and below the waters. Special thanks to volunteer scuba divers for thier kind job!

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