Efforts of volunteers help light up Lake Lanier

jcloudAs we wrap up 2015 and look forward to 2016, the Lake Lanier Association is thrilled to see our solar lighting program get back underway.
We have installed 123 solar-powered, photocell battery-operated lights on existing hazard markers in the south part of the lake over the past two years. The lights flash a yellow beam on for one second, off for three seconds from dusk to dawn hours. The Corps of Engineers has been monitoring our progress on this program and required a trial/waiting period to be sure the initial pilot program lights were well-received in the community, and that the Lake Lanier Association could install, monitor and maintain the lights to the Corps’ satisfaction.
This program is being completely coordinated and funded, in perpetuity, by the Lake Lanier Association without financial support from the Corps of Engineers or the Department of Natural Resources.
We received the order to “move out” for more lights in early fall 2015 and have just begun additional installations, working our way to finishing the southern part of the lake and moving north of Browns Bridge. We hope to have at least another 100 lights in place by summer 2016.
This program has been received with overwhelming support. We have been inundated with positive comments about the lighting program and are anxious to see it expand.
In addition to the light on the top of the hazard markers, starting with the fall 2015 installations we are also testing the installation of a strip of highly reflective white tape on the markers getting the new solar lights. We will monitor the reflective tape going forward to assess visibility as well as the durability in the lake environment. If the addition of the reflective tape is deemed successful, we will retrofit the tape on the markers that already have lights as part of a longer-term maintenance program.
Specific thanks goes out to Robert Estrada of TowBoatUS and Barkley Geib of Lanier Islands Marina for being a big part of the monthly monitoring and repair or replacement of lights, if one is deemed non-operational during the routine checks of the lights. Also, thanks to Tom Child of Marine Specialties for donating workboat services for volunteers who install new lights.
Finally, thanks Gary Hopkins and his associates at Plastek Werks in Cleveland for designing, fabricating and donating plastic mounting rings for us to test on our latest round of light installations. This allows us to install lights more quickly and will be easier for us to repair or replace lights in need of maintenance.
Several of the lights have been sponsored financially by individuals or corporations. While we cannot guarantee a specific light location for a sponsor, we do recognize all financial supporters of this program in our newsletter and with a keepsake memento. It is bittersweet that some of the lights have been sponsored in memory of an individual who has passed away. While we are saddened by the loss of a loved one in our community, we are pleased to be able to help memorialize that person in the form of a solar light on Lake Lanier.
Thank you to all the Lake Lanier Association members and solar light sponsors that make this lighting program possible. Anyone that has been on Lake Lanier during evening hours knows that it gets very dark out there and being able to see marked hazards is a tremendous relief for boaters on the lake at night.
If you have any questions about the solar lighting program, please contact the Lake Lanier Association at 770-503-7757 or by email at lakeinfo@lakelanier.org. Of course, if you haven’t already, please join the Lake Lanier Association to support this and our other programs and services. See our website www.lakelanier.org to join and to view a graphic of light placement.

About the author
Joanna Cloud is the executive director of Lake Lanier Association. For more information, or to join the Lake Lanier Association and support our programs and services, visit www.lakelanier.org.

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