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Cleaning up Lake Erie for annual Polar Plunge

Posted at 5:52 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 17:52:24-05

Several police agencies spent Friday morning patrolling the lake bottom at Woodlawn Beach State Park in Hamburg. Leaves, branches and other debris were carefully picked up to make way for the 12th Annual Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics New York.

"The biggest concern is tripping hazards," Town of Hamburg Police Lieutenant Jim Koch said. "We don't want people going in, they're all excited running into the cold water, their legs are numb and they're tripping over trees, leaves. I mean, we've pulled out shopping carts, tire rims and we just don't want anybody to get hurt."

Participants in the Polar Plunge are raising money for Special Olympics New York. There are about 3,500 special olympic athletes in WNY and many of them will be jumping in the water Saturday.

The event takes place at Woodlawn Beach State Park on Saturday, Dec 1. In person registration is available on site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the plunge actually happening at 2 p.m.

Special Olympics New York points to its relationship with law enforcement across the state as one of its most important.

"Law enforcement last year raised $2.2 million for Special Olympics New York," Special Olympics New York's Director of Development Erica Raepple said. "So they're one of our biggest donors and they put on this event for us. They help us raise money for our athletes."

Organizers hope to raise about $175,000 this year, beating last year's total of $165,000.

You can read more about the event by clicking here.