If you’re thinking of heading to the ocean beaches for a wild and rowdy Fourth of July, you might want to think again. Folks on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula — law enforcement personnel included — will be watching for you.
Following an exceptionally chaotic holiday weekend for the Long Beach Peninsula in 2015, in which close to 100,000 people hit the beach, the community is teaming up with local and state governments in order to promote safe and responsible celebration.
According to Washington State Parks and Recreation, which oversees state beaches, many of last year’s visitors illegally camped on the beach, built beach bonfires during a statewide burn ban, engaged in rowdy behavior and left tons of trash behind. Parking problems, noisy parties and illegal fireworks troubled nearby residential areas.
In a written release, the parks agency named a number of organizations raising awareness of how revelers can observe the Fourth of July in a way that is respectful of the peninsula and its inhabitants, both human and animal. Among these groups is “Not a Ban – A Better Plan,” founded in July 2015, a collective of local citizens that seeks to educate visitors about environmental regulations.
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“Providing clear expectations regarding behavior, along with information on the existing regulations, allows visitors and residents to self-regulate, which makes everyone happier,” said Bonnie Lou Cozby of A Better Plan. “Working together to protect what draws people here and providing resources to help with safety ensures a better future.”
The Long Beach Peninsula website shared its “Beach-Friendly Fourth” campaign, with a list of dos and don’ts for visitors: Do use only legal fireworks during designated hours; don’t camp on the beach; do respect burn bans; don’t leave any garbage behind.
Added law enforcement personnel will be on duty in the area for the Fourth of July. Washington State Parks will post more signs and informational material for visitors and add staff and enforcement hours over the holiday weekend. Pacific County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife will join in the effort.