The shores of Bass Lake were a lot cleaner last Saturday after nearly 70 volunteers participated in the 15th Annual Bass Lake Spring Clean. More than 150 large plastic bags of trash was collected between 9 a.m. and noon and brought to Recreation Point at the west end of the lake where all the volunteers were served lunch, courtesy of California Land Management, one of the event sponsors.
California Land Management oversees Bass Lake campgrounds and day use areas under a contract with the U.S. Forest Service.
Shia Geminder, assistant director of operations for C.L.M., said the company,who provided trash bags and gloves for everyone, said the event is geared towards bringing families and groups together while learning about the environment and helping make the area safe for all to enjoy.
Linda Sadler is coordinator of the event with the assistance of retired school teacher Skip Bullock.
"Families, individuals, youth and church groups gathered more than 150 bags or trash and large items like tires and pieces of broken boat docks," Sadler said.
"Bass Lake is beautiful and I can't thank these volunteers enough for their efforts to help keep it clean." Bullock said. "My wife Scarlet and I just returned from a 3,000 mile trailer trip across the western states, and didn't see anything prettier than Bass Lake and the surrounding area."
Bullock said volunteers are encouraged to clean up their favorite spots around the lake to develop a sense of ownership of the area.
Andrew and Michelle Zendner, both 24, collected 16 bags of trash. "It's wonderful to see so many people out here today helping clean up Bass Lake," Michelle said. "The outdoors mean more to us than just seeing trees. There's a peace to the beauty of the area and when people destroy that beauty by littering, it negatively affects the beauty of the area."
Travis McIntosh participated in the clean-up with his son and daughter, Jayden and Kaydince Vanzeyl. Travis' brother and father, Wyatt and Gary McIntosh also helped.
"We love Bass Lake and this is the fourth year we have participated in the clean-up," Travis said.
"We've picked up a lot of cans, Styrofoam and even a big piece of rusty metal," Jayden said.
During lunch, Denise Robinson, a member of the Backcountry Horseman of California, Sierra Free Packers unit of Oakhurst, said she realized she was preaching to the choir, but wanted to thank everyone for their efforts.
Robinson, who is the campground hostess at Granite Creek, said the 35 members of the Sierra Free Packers do a lot of clean-up and restoration work in the high country and follow the rules of the "Leave No Trace" program.
"Our message is 'you had room in the car to bring those cans, so you certainly have room, even more after crashing them, to put those cans back in the car and take them home,'" Robinson said.
Robinson said she hopes the adults and children cleaning up Bass Lake will help educate and promote "Leave No Trace" and encourage friends to participate in the clean-up event next year.
For every bag of trash the volunteers picked-up, they received a raffle ticket that gave them a chance to win one of the more than 40 prizes donated by 25 area businesses and individuals including The Forks Resort, Miller's Landing Resort, The Pines Market, Vons, Raley's, Yosemite Bank, Starbucks, Sierra Telephone and Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler.
"The merchants are generous and we really appreciate that" Bullock said.
"A few dedicated volunteers collect litter regularly at the lake and know spots where the public leaves the most garbage," Sadler said. "Thanks to them and others for their continuing litter gathering."