MASONBORO ISLAND, NC (WWAY) -- While many folks spent their holiday weekend barbequing in the backyard or sunbathing on the beach, one group of volunteers gave their time to clean up after partiers. The group is all about keeping their beloved island clean.
Masonboro.org is a group dedicated to preserving public access to Masonboro Island. They take advantage of the July 4 weekend, when many people are celebrating on the island, to teach people about keeping it clean.
"Three-hundred sixty-four days a year, there's no problem on Masonboro, but this one day a bunch of people come out and party, and in years past, they've left trash," Masonboro.org co-founder Richard Johnson said. "We're out here spreading a message. We're handing out trash bags, and the kids are great. They're taking the trash bags. They're cleaning up."
Johnson thinks Masonboro Island is the best we've got, because it's great for recreation and for watching wildlife. He expects to collect about 2,000 pounds of trash throughout the holiday weekend.
"It's good to have somebody out here being responsible, picking up the trash," visitor Joshua Terry said. "A lot of kids like to trash the beach, but with them out here, they keep it clean and keep it open for everybody."
Terry said the island is a great escape from the usual beaches, and Masonboro.org co-founder Jack Kilbourne added that the island is the reason to have a boat if you live in Wilmington.
"Several years ago, it was trashed, and we don't ever want to see that again," Kilbourne said. "Unfortunately, it takes some folks like us reminding people to take their trash right now. We're hoping over time, people will remember to go ahead and take it with them."
"I was out here three years ago, and it was really bad," visitor Jameson Terry said. "But it's a good thing they're passing out trash bags because a lot of people don't think about bringing them."
Joshua Terry said, "If you like to come out here, then keep it clean. Don't ruin it for everybody. That's really all you can do. Just enjoy it, just don't trash the beach."
This is the second year the group has passed out trash bags on the island, and they say they'll be doing it for years to come. The group not only keeps the island clean, they also sort the trash and recycle what they can.