Lake Mattawa cleanup in Orange seeks volunteers

  • Karen Traub picks up trash during the Lake Mattawa Association Cleanup Day in Orange in August 2020. Another cleanup effort will be held Saturday. Staff File Photo/MARY BYRNE

  • Local residents and members of a swim team that frequently swims in Lake Mattawa met in August 2020 for the Lake Mattawa Association Cleanup Day. Another cleanup effort will be held Saturday. Staff File Photo/MARY BYRNE

  • Heather Stinson and Susan Chinman participate in the Lake Mattawa Association Cleanup Day in Or. Another cleanup effort will be held Saturday. Staff File Photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/24/2021 5:32:14 PM

ORANGE — Organizers of the Lake Mattawa Association Cleanup Day are seeking volunteers to help beautify the lake on Saturday.

Participants will meet at the Lake Mattawa boat ramp at 9 a.m. A second cleanup day is scheduled for Sept. 25, also starting at 9 a.m. Trash bags will be provided, and participants are encouraged to bring their own gloves.

“It should be fun,” former state Rep. and Orange Revitalization Partnership (ORP) President Denise Andrews said. “We’re going to walk in pairs and pick up trash, and make the place beautiful.”

Saturday’s event will help the lake enter the summer with a clean start. Lake Mattawa Association President Matthew Gilmore said the intent of the second community cleanup day in September is to end the season on just as strong a note for community cleanliness.

This will be the third year in a row the Lake Mattawa Association has scheduled recurring community cleanup days. The effort became a greater focus when Gilmore was elected three years ago, but he said he’s hesitant to call this just the “third” annual cleanup because the association has been maintaining Lake Mattawa for decades before he took office.

“We’re just trying to do what we can to make the lake a better place, by continuing a tradition that started when the associated formed back in 1927,” Gilmore said.

In addition to organizing the community cleanup days, Gilmore said the association conducted stump removal and work on the boat ramp last year. Its members also hold annual picnic days for residents who live near the lake.

Gilmore said his family has lived by the lake since 1953. He grew up spending summers there, then in 2009 he purchased his parents’ summer house and converted it to a year-round home. He later joined and gradually became more involved with the Lake Mattawa Association, and was eventually encouraged to run for president.

Last year’s summer cleanup efforts involved extra help from members of the University of Massachusetts Masters Swim Team. When the Amherst campus closed in March 2020 as a result of the pandemic, the team lost access to the swimming pool. For most of last summer, the team swam the perimeter of Lake Mattawa, four to five times a week, to practice. The swimmers wanted to participate in the cleanup as a way to give back to the Orange community members, many of whom cheered the swimmers on as they made their laps around the lake.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.

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