More than 50 volunteers turned out to scour the sand at Bald Point State Park and set a new county record for attendance on the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup Saturday, contributing to a huge success throughout the county.
There were more than 800 cleanups registered in the state of Florida and here in Franklin County, there were 20, including remote areas like Dog Island, Lanark Reef and Alligator Point.
The biggest turnout of volunteers was at beautiful Bald Point State Park where 58 intrepid outdoorsmen collected about 12,000 pounds of trash.
Organizer Dustin Allen said his crew included members of the Alligator Point Taxpayers Association, students and faculty from Maclay School in Tallahassee and a large group from ReThink Energy Florida a not-for-profit dedicated to educating and engaging the public on energy issues, including the use of fossil fuels, renewable energy and lower energy consumption.
Cleanup organizer Ada Long said the turnout at Bald Point set a record for Coastal Cleanup in the county. She said that countywide, 250 volunteers collected 267 bags of trash weighing almost 14.
The Bald Point crew collected the most litter. Second place went to Dog Island with nearly a ton and third to Carrabelle with 1,100 pounds.
By weight, this was almost 10,000 pounds more refuse than last year. In 2012, 191 volunteers collected 319 bags of litter weighing out at four tons.
Hard work over the years and throughout the summer seems to be paying off.
Site director Kathy Swaggerty said Lanark Beach was unbelievably clean this year, thanks to ongoing efforts of villagers.
Unfortunately, the cleanup of Lanark Reef had to be put on hold. While workers dodged the bullet and finished before predicted rain began, it was too rough to reach the reef by small boat. Much of the wetland area below the boardwalk at Lafayette Park in Apalachicola was also unreachable due to high water.
Unusual items collected included a 15” x 15” net, a chalk line box, an inflatable shark, two fire extinguishers and a message in a bottle launched from Pepperfish Key on April 6. The bottle turned up at St. Teresa Beach.
According to the Ocean Conservancy, which sponsors the International Coastal Cleanup, for more than a quarter of a century, volunteers worldwide have gathered annually along coastlines and waterways to participate