Davenport Beach is beautiful. For being such a beautiful beach, it's also filled with quite a bit of trash, especially on the weekends. Trash all over the beach happens to some degree during the winter months, but it's especially prevalent during the summer. People often wonder why someplace so beautiful gets trashed so badly. There are a number of contributing factors.
Getting from the parking lot to the beach isn't an easy stroll. It takes a bit of effort to get down to the beach, and much more effort to climb back up. Those who have the energy to make a few trips to the car early in the day to get all their food, drinks and other beach things often don't have the energy to make several trips uphill late in the day to drag it all back to their car. People who are lazy and don't want to carry heavy loads of empty bottles and other trash up the steep hills is a big contributing factor as to why so much is left on the beach.
Davenport has become known as a party beach where a lot of young adults go to consume a large amount of alcohol. Having consumed the alcohol, they are much less likely to feel the need to carry all the heavy glass bottles up the hill late in the day, or when they have a hangover in the morning. Drinking in combination with overnight camping seems to be the two activities that cause most of the trash problem on the beach.
No Single Organization in Charge
Davenport beach, unfortunately, falls into a sort of no-mans land when it comes to who is responsible for the beach. The land is covered by several governmental organizations, with none of them fully in control. That means there is no specific group in charge of trash pick-up. Trash is only picked up once a week (on Mondays) at the parking lot, and at the end of the trail across from the hotel. Anything left on the beach or the trail stays there until someone is will to bring it to one of the two trash pick-up areas.
No Easy Solution
Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to the above problems. While it would be ideal if people took personal responsibility to pack their own trash, the steepness of the trail back to the cars will mean those who are lazy won't. Even if you made access easier, the steepness would still deter a lot of people from packing out their own trash. In fact, it would likely increase the amount of trash, as more people would have easier access to the beach.
Having more enforcement of drinking and littering ordinances would be great, but it's not likely to happen. A big issue is that phone reception can be spotty in certain areas of the beach, making it potentially dangerous for law enforcement. An individual law enforcement person may not be able to contact backup and there's always a potential danger when confronting a large group of intoxicated beachgoers. Putting several officers to do the rounds on a regular basis isn't in the law enforcement budget.
So, What Can We Do?
Personally, I think that those of us who sea glass at Davenport have a responsibility to do what we can to keep the beach as clean as possible. There are a couple of steps we can take to help in the effort of keeping the beach clean.
First, bring a garbage bag down with you each time you visit the beach. If everyone would haul a bit of trash back out each time they visit, the beach would remain a lot cleaner. There are a lot of volunteers who spend time and energy cleaning the beach, and we can show our appreciation and help them quite a bit by making a small effort with each visit.
Secondly, let's try to better educate those who do come down to the beach that there is no trash service. I may be wrong, but I think a lot of people assume that there is a group in charge of cleaning the beach of trash, and if they know there isn't, they may be more likely to haul out their trash.
Do you have other ideas on how we could better control the trash problem at Davenport? Please leave them in the comments.