MASONBORO ISLAND, NC (WWAY) -- A lot of people say Masonboro Island is the place to be on the 4th of July, but sometimes the holiday fun can get out of hand.
The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office set-up camp at the island over the holiday weekend. Deputies said there were about 700 on the island and 400 boats around the island yesterday alone.
On holiday weekends, deputies say they have one concern: safety.
"It's the intoxication and the safety of the people becoming too intoxicated," Lt. Matthew Payne said. "For the good weather that we had here yesterday, the crowds were a little bit smaller and a little less than what I expected."
Deputies say underage drinking is also a problem at the island on the 4th of July, but safety is not the only issue at Masonboro Island. Cleaning up the island after the holiday celebration is a problem, but this year was different.
The crowds of people mean large amounts of trash sometimes left behind on the island. Masonboro.org is a local group of citizens concerned that public access to Masonboro Island may become more restrictive in the future because of holidays like the 4th of July.
The group raises awareness about leaving trash on the island. It says this year's clean-up was the best yet.
"We want to keep the island open for future generations, for our kids," Masonboro.org founder Richard Johnson said. "We thought if we could get out here and talk to the kids partying, they would respond. They are very environmentally conscious. They took our trash bags, and they cleaned up."
Masonboro Island is the largest undisturbed barrier island along the southern part of the North Carolina coast.