Volunteers clean up Saranac Lake and Lake Placid

A sign explains negative effects of stray dog feces in downtown Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Kevin Shea)

Saranac Lake and Lake Placid volunteers touched up their roads, walkways and parks Saturday in an effort to beautify the two villages.

Saranac Lake

More volunteers and cigarette butts but fewer dog feces yielded a positive day of detailing in the downtown. It also was the first year the Saranac Lake cleanup was fully passed on by the Women’s Civic Chamber — which originally started the cleanup — to the Downtown Advisory Board, a group of volunteers who aim to advise on policies pertaining the downtown and assist in the planning of events and promotions. Tim Fortune, chair of the board, saw victories this year.

“Saranac Lake is a really great volunteer community,” Fortune said.

The total number of volunteers for this year rose from 22 to around 30 — Fortune didn’t have an exact number. A reason for the increase in the number of volunteers could be a more executed publicity campaign on social media by the village to increase awareness of the event to not only a larger number of people but a younger group as well. Fortune thinks this will be a necessary path to increase and continue the village’s volunteering vibe.

Fortune says that one of the advantages in the past for the downtown has been a group of volunteers who consistently aid in projects. This could be detrimental, however, when members of this unofficial group leave the area or this world, and there is no one to pick up the torch. Fortune says the downtown needs an active, young base to volunteer and start other programs and events.

Saturday saw a bigger group than before. Those who attended and worked did so between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Two differences were seen by this year’s batch of volunteers. First off, less dog poop.

“The people that came back said they didn’t see as much as in the past,” Fortune said.

Last year, villagers had brought to the advisory board’s attention that there was a great amount of dog feces in the area. Fortune said this problem became a greater issue when the snow melted and ice thawed. The board brought it to the village, which then set up signs detailing the importance of using dog-waste bag stations placed throughout the village. Fortune believes the cleanup shows this has worked.

Volunteers also said they had seen more cigarette butts than in recent years, and Fortune said he’d heard of the issue more than before. A post on the Saranac Lake Area Chamber Instagram page showed an area in the village swamped with used and crumpled cigarettes. The caption under the post read, “30 people showed up to give downtown a deep clean. Look at all these butts! Thank you to everyone who came out and helped! Downtown looks great!”

Lake Placid

On the same day, Lake Placid held its cleanup.

The effort was co-coordinated by Andrea Grout and Tricia Garret. Neither could be reached in time for this article. The cleanup was also co-sponsored by the Lake Placid Garden Club. According to the cleanup’s Facebook page, the event has been in existence for 53 years.

For those who attended, there was also a scavenger hunt with three winners who won prizes, and also a lunch for all the volunteers.