The summer boating season is winding down. For many, that means one last hurrah out on Masonboro Island. But this year, law enforcement officers will be there too. Masonboro Island is the place to be on holidays like Fourth of July and Labor Day. But, after the large amount of partying and extensive clean up this past Fourth of July, area agencies are determined to keep the next celebration a bit tamer. Masonboro Island is a 5,000 acre barrier island. It is rich with wildlife and natural beauty, but holidays like Fourth of July, and Labor Day, Captain Scott Collins of Sea Tow said it turns into, "lots of beer cans, beer trash and stuff like that, a lot of camping gear, a lot of tents that were left, coolers that were left." That is just some of what Collins found when he helped clean up Masonboro Island after the Fourth of July. "Cell phones, i-pods, keys, lots of clothing and things like that…," said Collins. "Showing up there, seeing how pristine it is, the idea that they think someone else is going to clean it up, or who cares, leave it here." This year, Captain Scott along with state and local law enforcement agencies are looking to crack down on the excess trash left on the island after holiday weekends, but also make sure people are not getting too out of control when they are there. Hope Sutton of the NC Dept. of Natural Resources said, "With all of that boat traffic, and most people having alcohol as a factor in their visit out there, there have been issues and concerns about public safety and potential life threatening situations." To help tame the crowd come Labor Day, law enforcement officers will be patrolling the island, and waters surrounding it. The added officers will add to the safety of holiday boaters, and the serenity of the largest undisturbed barrier island off our coast. To ensure that trash makes its way back off the island, law agencies will look to the public to help hand out trash bags at local boat ramps in Wrightsville and Carolina Beach. The public can voice questions and concerns at a follow up meeting on August 22, at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall.
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