The coronavirus pandemic is forcing logistical changes for Saturday’s 33rd annual Trashmasters Classic Lakeshore Cleanup at Barren River Lake, but we hope the altered approach doesn’t deter area residents from participating in the vital caretaking of one of our region’s most precious resources.

In order to maintain social distancing, this year’s event will do away with some of the communal aspects of past cleanups that encouraged close-contact activity: Gone is the volunteer appreciation picnic, and volunteers who do not have access to a boat will be assigned specific areas where they will be isolated from others.

None of this should diminish the volunteers’ ability to make significant progress in their efforts, however. And that’s a good thing, because the annual cleanup is an important tradition that contributes greatly to the continued beauty of Barren River Lake.

The lake is a hub of outdoor activity in southcentral Kentucky – boating, fishing, hiking and camping are among the most common attractions, as is the simple serenity of nature.

Unfortunately, some among us don’t show the lake or its surrounding land the appropriate respect. We’d be thrilled if events such as Trashmasters were unnecessary because visitors were diligent about cleaning up after themselves and not using the lake as a personal dumping area. But that, of course, is not our reality.

It’s important to note, though, that pre-registration is required this year. No day-of registration is available, meaning anyone who shows up unannounced Saturday will not be allowed to participate. To sign up, call 270-646-2055.

We applaud the U.S. Corps of Engineers for adjusting its approach in order to hold this event in a safe manner during the pandemic. It is too vital to the health and beauty of Barren River Lake to skip a year, and it helps area residents maintain a sense of pride and ownership in one of the region’s finest outdoor resources.

We’re hopeful that COVID-19 concerns are not a deterrent for prospective volunteers, and that plenty of progress is made Saturday toward keeping the lake clean for all to enjoy.

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