By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
When you stay at a hotel, it's common to pay the room fee plus a deposit, or, sign an agreement that you will be charged for damages to the room or furnishings.
The Carolina Beach Town Council recently discussed how to address an abundance of garbage left at campsites in Freeman Park.
The Council took no official action during their January 9th, meeting and instead decided to send the issue to several committees for further discussion and future recommendations.
The Council also wants more info on issues such as reducing the number of campsites due to beach erosion, limiting hours for access to the park, limiting the number of vehicles and people at campsites and other aspects of park management.
Yet the overwhelming topic of discussion was how to deal with trash bags and litter left behind by people visiting the park as well as overnight campers.
As for the campsites, one solution is to charge a refundable deposit for each campsite, or, include a clause in the campsite agreement at the time someone reserves a campsite that if upon inspection, the site contains any trash, the responsible party will be charged a fee of $50 or $100. (Let's be reasonable).
Now, the problem with that system is that other campers could simply toss trash onto another site.
That's where the Town has to spend a little money to hire personnel to serve as "check-out inspectors".
Meaning that each day check-out will be from (for example) 10am to 11am when the right to occupy that campsite expires. When the employee rides up on an ATV heading north along the campsites, they capture everyone packing up to leave.
If you are caught by an employee placing trash on another campsite, it's an automatic fine and campers agree to that fine when they reserve a campsite and provide their credit card information.
It will cost money to hire two or three additional personnel in the summer to patrol campsites seven days a week in the morning (part-time employees), but it will add a sense of authority to the area and make people think twice about leaving trash behind because it will be easier to place it a can, or, take it with them rather than fighting the civil fines or having to call their credit card company to battle a legitimate withhold of a deposit they agreed to by signing a document.
The only other option is to provide large garbage bags to each campsite and require them to return all of those bags before getting their deposit back. If they require more bags, they can simply ask for them. Bags are cheap, and can certainly be factored in to the budget as a cost for overhead that reduces the headache of having to remove mounds of trash from the beach as is currently the case.
Perfect summer job for college students.
Mohican Adventures Camp & Cabins in Loudonville, OH, has a similar rule which states, "Help us keep this campground clean and beautiful. Please place all trash, cigarette butts, and other litter in trash bags and take to trash bins. There will be a $50 minimum charge to clean up campsites."
Huzzah Valley Resort in Steelville, MO, also has a similar rule on trash which states, "All trash must be disposed of in the proper containers. A deposit is required and will only be returned at the end of the stay if ALL TRASH HAS BEEN PROPERLY STASHED. Trash Littering will result in $150 fine and loss of campsite deposit."