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Easter Campers Get Passing Grade for Trash Cleanup

April 11, 2007 — After another year of Easter camping on St. Croix’s beaches, by Tuesday nearly everyone had taken down their tents and makeshift kitchens and gone home, cleaning up most of their trash, but leaving the bushes sporadically strewn with debris.
If the cleanliness of camping areas were graded like a school project, they’d deserve credit for getting the right idea and largely following through. But the cleaning fell short of the Boy Scouts of America camping rule; pack it in, pack it out and leave no trace.
Tents began popping up here and there early last week and then exploded in profusion all over the island last Thursday. Tuesday afternoon the last stragglers were still slowly packing up the last of their equipment after camping for as long as a week. Out near Rainbow and Ha’penny beaches, and dotted here and there about the island, the last tents and campers hung on like the last lingering flowers on a tree after their season is over.
Where just a little while ago there was a profusion of color and noise, now it is quiet and empty. Trash bins at beaches were filled to overflowing, with excess trash more or less neatly stacked against the outside of the bins.
Privately maintained Dorsch Beach had some trash around its outer fringes and stuck in the bushes. But other than temporarily full trash bins, that area was about as clean as it usually is the rest of the year.
Ha’penny Beach was nearly spotless, with just the occasional beer can or flattened paper cup on the ground. At Cramer Park, the single largest camping area, acting Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire Williams directed staff to remove trash throughout the entire weekend. On Tuesday, the grounds and beach had clearly been picked clean, although the surrounding brush was festively festooned with windblown plastic bags and the like.
Probably the most observed camping area was over at Salt River, the site of Columbus’ landing in 1493. There new restrictions on overnight camping stick in the craw of some campers. For the first time this year, overnight camping is prohibited on the five acres that form a point off the shore. Starting last year, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources began stepping up enforcement of rules against littering, digging, brush cutting and driving near the major historical sites in the area.
A drive around on Tuesday found the beach area very clean, but quite a bit of windblown debris stuck in surrounding brush on adjacent private property and near the entrance to the beach. Campers there complain they have been blamed for trash left by others, before Easter. There is no way to ascertain who left the trash, which may have been from a single full trash bag pulled and strewn about by an animal. Spokesmen for DPNR and for the National Park Service could not be reached for comment on how things went at Salt River this year.
Juan “Kike” Ayala, Gloria Fredericks and dozens of their friends and family have been camping at Betty’s Hope for the past eight years at what must be the most deluxe camp site on the island. They have built a very elaborate makeshift campsite, dubbed “Camp Paraiso.” It has a trailer with changing rooms, a shelter with a small slab and outdoor kitchen, a large freshwater tank raised up to roof height and a generator, amongst its amenities. Per haps hoping to maintain good relations with TransCapital, the company leasing the land for a new resort, Ayala and company left the area very clean.
While there was some trash here and there after the weekend, it was also very clear that nearly everyone camping was making some effort to clean up after themselves, to not leave debris and junk behind and to get everything into nearby dumpsters. Most of the visible trash appeared to be windblown. Here and there, though, were signs of thoughtlessness: beer cans stuck in trees, little piles of trash left right where someone sat eating and drinking, and so on.
From a police perspective, the weekend went well, too.
“The weekend was relatively incident free,” said Police spokeswoman Shawna Richards. “There were no reports of incidents at the camps and no excessive burglaries over the holiday.”
Richards said the police made continuous patrols through both the campsites and neighborhoods, trying to maintain a consistent presence to help keep things safe.
All in all, some campers get an A+ while others get a C, for an overall passing grade.
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April 11, 2007 -- After another year of Easter camping on St. Croix’s beaches, by Tuesday nearly everyone had taken down their tents and makeshift kitchens and gone home, cleaning up most of their trash, but leaving the bushes sporadically strewn with debris.
If the cleanliness of camping areas were graded like a school project, they’d deserve credit for getting the right idea and largely following through. But the cleaning fell short of the Boy Scouts of America camping rule; pack it in, pack it out and leave no trace.
Tents began popping up here and there early last week and then exploded in profusion all over the island last Thursday. Tuesday afternoon the last stragglers were still slowly packing up the last of their equipment after camping for as long as a week. Out near Rainbow and Ha’penny beaches, and dotted here and there about the island, the last tents and campers hung on like the last lingering flowers on a tree after their season is over.
Where just a little while ago there was a profusion of color and noise, now it is quiet and empty. Trash bins at beaches were filled to overflowing, with excess trash more or less neatly stacked against the outside of the bins.
Privately maintained Dorsch Beach had some trash around its outer fringes and stuck in the bushes. But other than temporarily full trash bins, that area was about as clean as it usually is the rest of the year.
Ha’penny Beach was nearly spotless, with just the occasional beer can or flattened paper cup on the ground. At Cramer Park, the single largest camping area, acting Housing, Parks and Recreation Commissioner St. Claire Williams directed staff to remove trash throughout the entire weekend. On Tuesday, the grounds and beach had clearly been picked clean, although the surrounding brush was festively festooned with windblown plastic bags and the like.
Probably the most observed camping area was over at Salt River, the site of Columbus’ landing in 1493. There new restrictions on overnight camping stick in the craw of some campers. For the first time this year, overnight camping is prohibited on the five acres that form a point off the shore. Starting last year, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources began stepping up enforcement of rules against littering, digging, brush cutting and driving near the major historical sites in the area.
A drive around on Tuesday found the beach area very clean, but quite a bit of windblown debris stuck in surrounding brush on adjacent private property and near the entrance to the beach. Campers there complain they have been blamed for trash left by others, before Easter. There is no way to ascertain who left the trash, which may have been from a single full trash bag pulled and strewn about by an animal. Spokesmen for DPNR and for the National Park Service could not be reached for comment on how things went at Salt River this year.
Juan “Kike” Ayala, Gloria Fredericks and dozens of their friends and family have been camping at Betty’s Hope for the past eight years at what must be the most deluxe camp site on the island. They have built a very elaborate makeshift campsite, dubbed “Camp Paraiso.” It has a trailer with changing rooms, a shelter with a small slab and outdoor kitchen, a large freshwater tank raised up to roof height and a generator, amongst its amenities. Per haps hoping to maintain good relations with TransCapital, the company leasing the land for a new resort, Ayala and company left the area very clean.
While there was some trash here and there after the weekend, it was also very clear that nearly everyone camping was making some effort to clean up after themselves, to not leave debris and junk behind and to get everything into nearby dumpsters. Most of the visible trash appeared to be windblown. Here and there, though, were signs of thoughtlessness: beer cans stuck in trees, little piles of trash left right where someone sat eating and drinking, and so on.
From a police perspective, the weekend went well, too.
“The weekend was relatively incident free,” said Police spokeswoman Shawna Richards. “There were no reports of incidents at the camps and no excessive burglaries over the holiday.”
Richards said the police made continuous patrols through both the campsites and neighborhoods, trying to maintain a consistent presence to help keep things safe.
All in all, some campers get an A+ while others get a C, for an overall passing grade.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.