Why We Have To Carry In and Carry Out
Recently we posted an article on the trash issue at Cape Henlopen State Park’s fishing pier. The day after it opened there was a lot of trash tied to the rails, on the pier, and in the water.. Many of us know this has been an ongoing situation, for years at the pier and the Indian River Inlet. I contacted Doug Long, Park Superintendent at Delaware Seashore State Park and asked him why we can’t have the trash cans and dumpsters back, like the days of old. I mentioned it was suggested in a discussion online that dumpsters could be donated, would that be something the parks would consider.
Doug Long, Park Superintendent … “One of the few great things about being in parks forever, besides being a dinosaur, is you remember how and why stuff happened!
I was a ranger at Cape when “Carry-In Carry-out” became a thing for Delaware State Parks- that was in 1994. At the time, we had a 55-gallon metal trash barrel about every 50 feet (it seemed) throughout the park (including the pier). We had a ½ dozen seasonal workers who did nothing but empty every trash barrels every single day. The $ costs were staggering. Those dang things were always overflowing and the gulls, raccoons, and the worst- yellow jackets, got into them every day. But fishing areas like the pier, still had a ton of litter that “never made it to the barrel” despite all the cans. Places like Beach Plum Island always seemed full too.
We first had 2 cans, then 4, then 8, but these would always be full. We eventually figured out everyone brought their household waste to the park. When the decision was made to eliminate the cans, I thought it would be a disaster for beach parks, especially the swimming beaches. Shocker- the beach was actually cleaner than before. I think that was a real success. I still can’t figure out why the swimming beaches were cleaner, but hey, it seems to work. Maybe its (beach) sacred to people. The fishing areas (Cape pier – North Lot at DSSP) remained about the same except for the dang bags tied to rail. Cape & DSSP actually “cheated” for a year or two and defied the Director by keeping a dumpster at those areas. Sadly, again it made no difference. The do-gooders continued to take out their trash but the dumpsters got mostly household waste from all over Delmarva, and PA. Trash remained on the pier daily. The costs back in the 90’s for trash barrel removal was about $50K at the beach parks. That included seasonal staff who did nothing but heft cans. Another hidden cost was the destruction on 4WD pick-ups/equipment by hefting cans on those things 8-hours a day going up and down the beach.
Anyway, that’s my long-winded response to the “donated dumpster” idea. I would like to see folk’s hard-earned money go to good use. We struggle with little on the North & South Side but if we didn’t have our camp hosts picking it up daily it would really be awful.
In conclusion … carry in and carry out is necessary for the parks to save money, it keeps people from using the parks as their household trash cans (dump), and the litterbugs as it were won’t use the cans anyway. Seems only the responsible folks ever do the right thing, no surprise there. If you see someone littering or leaving trash behind contact the rangers. I live near a recycle facility and we used to be able to go at any time of day and use the dumpsters, thanks to some lazy litterbugs the facility is fenced in and gated. Now you have to go at hours of operation and it makes it difficult to take the trash there when it is convenient.