Chinese Lantern Launching: GA Board Seeks your Input

In recent years, Greensboro and the Caspian Lake community have seen an uptick in the use of Chinese paper lanterns.  Several residents have indicated concern about the environmental impact and safety of these lanterns.  They have been found in the lake, on people’s cottages and lawns, and in farmer’s fields where they pose a serious health risk to livestock if they and the wires they contain are baled or ingested by animals.

The GA Board hoped to gain more input from the membership at its Annual Meeting last week, but a full agenda limited the available time for discussion.  The Board anticipates discussing in future meetings what, if any, position the GA should take on the use of these lanterns.   They are actively seeking member input to inform discussions on this issue.   Please leave comments here or in the GA’s Facebook Group.  To ensure that input helps the Board better understand the community’s position on this issue, the Communications Committee would like to remind participants that discussion should be kept respectful.  All comments are subject to review by the communications team and inflammatory or derogatory remarks will be removed.

13 replies
  1. Charlie Averill
    Charlie Averill says:

    I enjoy seeing the lanterns but have always wondered where they end up and what damage they might do. Maybe someone can explain to all of us how dangerous or not dangerous these things are.

  2. Allison Stegner
    Allison Stegner says:

    I am neutral to lanterns so long as they are made of entirely bio-degradable, and relatively-quickly degrading materials. I worry that plastic or wire pieces could cause harm to wildlife, in addition to generating trash in the lake and on land, and so am personally opposed to non-biodegradable lanterns.

  3. Hugh Knox
    Hugh Knox says:

    My property at 532 Breezy Ave has been on the receiving end of lanterns for several years. They stink, they are ugly on the gound, they are a potential source of fires, and serve no real purpose other than a brief thrill in one place and external costs in other places down wind.

    I approached Willey’s management about selling such and was told they had consulted the Fire Dept and were told they were safe. In a perfect world, maybe so, but it will take only one malfunction for a fire to start.

    Hugh Knox

  4. Rick Yeiser
    Rick Yeiser says:

    At least the lanterns are quiet. Far worse is the rather constant barrage of fireworks at dusk, very often coming from rentals. I would urge you to take the lead in seeking a total ban on private fireworks.

  5. Linda Ely
    Linda Ely says:

    I have personally enjoyed watching the lanterns launched for the beach. However, I am the first cottage down from the beach and I always watch to see where the lanterns are drifting and whether there are lanterns coming down on our property. Even when I watch, I still find a lot of the lanterns in various places on our property. And I thank goodness there was no fire.

    Despite my enjoyment, these are banned in a number of places.

    I wonder if we instead could launch lanterns on the water which would float onto the lake instead of fly into the air. This happened several years ago on the lake and it was beautiful. Of course we would want them to be ecologically suitable for the lake.

    Linda Ely

  6. Gail Sangree
    Gail Sangree says:

    I do not approve of these lanterns and would prefer that they be banned .For a fleeting moment they look pretty, and then someone downwind like Hugh Knox has to deal with the cleanup and the worry about fires.

  7. Nancy Riege
    Nancy Riege says:

    I am not happy with lanterns being let go into the sky. Yes they may look cool, but to me it seems like littering in the air…..


    I am not in favor of the lanterns. They detract from the night sky, land in places too high to remove and thus look terrible and are polluting the lake when they land in the water. I don’t even think they look pretty or interesting. I never thought about the risk of fires, but that is truly an issue. I would prefer they would be banned ….. along with ANY fireworks outside of the official ones …. though they also are quite polluting.

  9. Stuart O'Sullivan
    Stuart O'Sullivan says:

    This past July, while kayaking in the early mornings on two occasions, I collected 4 lanterns out of the lake (long before the big lantern night in August). All of them had wire rings. Two of them looked like bloated, dead animals from afar. Apart from being an eyesore, they must surely be a danger to water birds, fish & boats? We have explained to our kids that we can no longer light them as we have for the past few summers and I think it’s a good opportunity to teach our children the importance of environmental consideration over a fleeting moment. They are also a problem for farmers who are haying as the wire rings can do damage to their tractors and equipment. As beautiful as they are too watch, they should be banned.

  10. Martha H. Niemi
    Martha H. Niemi says:

    I agree with all the reply’s so far. Last summer 2017 the lanterns were being lit by the dozens from the beach and the wind was blowing FROM the.southwest. We watched in horror as they landed in the lake in huge gray blobs. Our grandson paddled out with a big barn muck bucket and it was filled with overflowing soggy lanterns in a matter of minutes. SOOOO many more were left out in the lake as a true hazard to our loons and fish. They are NOT biodegradable and the few that have a bamboo frame still do not degrade quick enough before they are entangled with birds etc. I also found a lantern in our back field which had a name of a lakeside resident on it. I returned it to them with the suggestion that they might not want to participate in this lantern lighting in the future. We had just had our fields hayed and if these lanterns with their strings and wires get tangled in the mowers, tetting machines, or balers it could cause the farmer thousands of dollars to fix their machines. I brought one of the lanterns that we collected to the summer Greensboro Annual meeting and wanted the subject of the sponsoring the lantern lighting to be brought up, but the meeting was adjourned without dealing with the impact of this the ground or in the water where they land. One of the Assoc. Board members did take the lantern to the next meeting which prompted this across the board inquiry of the Greensboro community. I know it the past when the wind is blowing right, they land at the golf course, in peoples yards and in farmers fields. The fire issue is not a big factor compared to the impact of the ground and water in which they land. Please please rethink about the Assoc sponsoring this summer event.

    • Linda Ely
      Linda Ely says:

      CLARIFICATION: The Greensboro Association does not sponsor the lantern lighting event, nor has it ever sponsored it. Our request for comments is part of our role to improve and maintain dialogue about community activities and issues. Thank you for your comments.

  11. Peggy Lipscomb
    Peggy Lipscomb says:

    I have had lanterns ending up on my hayfield. I worry about them getting rolled up in one of those big white round bales and ending up being chomped on (or completely eaten) by livestock. There is no time for them to biodegrade before haying. I know they are lovely, but I would prefer that we discontinue the practice.


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