Fifth of July hangover: Trash on the beach |

Fifth of July hangover: Trash on the beach

A walk along any South Shore beach the morning after the Fourth of July is proof that the holiday brings more than just money to the Tahoe Basin – it brings plenty of trash.

“Bottles, cans, empty bags from munchies, blankets, deflated beach balls – it’s the usual flotsam and jetsam of the Fourth of July weekend,” said Don Lane, U.S. Forest Service recreation forester, who spent the holiday patrolling the crowds on Nevada Beach near Round Hill.

But Stan Burton, the man who picks up the trash from the streets and beaches, says it’s worth all the extra work.

“It’s like a war zone,” he said. “But the city of South Lake Tahoe puts on a fabulous event and you can’t have all those people without having a lot of litter. You just have to clean it up.”

Burton is the program manager for the Clean Tahoe Program, a nonprofit organization that addresses litter issues in the South Shore area. With the help of three other Clean Tahoe employees and about 14 volunteers, Burton was able to quickly get a handle on the Fourth of July trash situation.

By Monday at 1 p.m., Burton and his trash-collecting sect made four trips to the dump and had the Stateline beach area swept up and ready for use.

Other beaches on South Shore also received a speedy cleanup.

“We hired a six-person crew to pick up the litter and clean the rest rooms and they had Nevada and Pope beaches cleaned up by 3 p.m. (on Monday),” said Joy Lemm, operations manager for California Land Management, the concessionaire hired to operate and maintain some of the Forest Service’s beaches and campgrounds in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Lane said he thought the spectator turnout for the fireworks show was comparable to last year.

“And the amount of litter seems to be the same,” he said. “About 10 percent of it was beer bottles and cans – even though they weren’t allowed.”

Burton agreed.

“The overwhelming amount of material we see is alcohol containers, along with the blankets and mattresses and fast food containers,” he said. “We really didn’t find anything that was of any value. I think one of us found 10 cents.”

But Burton said he wasn’t really looking for prize possessions out there.

“We’re dedicated to removing the litter,” he said. “It’s a good accomplishment.”

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