Fourteenth Big Shell Beach Cleanup

TSFMag Staff
Fourteenth Big Shell Beach Cleanup
Ironic.
Hurricane Ike smashed the Galveston-Bolivar area dumping untold tons of debris where gulf currents could bring it to rest on Padre Island National Seashore. Billy Sandifer and his crew of volunteer organizers sweated beads of glass in the planning. Past events were a snap given logistics and general state of the beach.

Add low-40s temperatures, stiff northeast wind and drizzle; the chances for a successful beach cleanup diminish proportionally. None-the-less, 439 hearty souls showed at Malaquite Pavilion in pre-dawn darkness to receive work assignments. Twenty-something more hit the beach from the south, boating from Port Mansfield.

In past events, it was all about miles of beach. This year was all about gross tonnage. Through thirteen prior efforts, volunteers scavenged 1,030,000 pounds from the PINS sand. Park Service estimates declare this year's haul to be, "in the range of 750,000 pounds."

Volunteers of all backgrounds and ages came in 4WD trucks towing trailers to, as Sandifer puts it, "Walk the walk." Park Service supported with heavy equipment and operators to transport the mountain of debris to Malaquite from down-island drop sites.

During past events volunteers removed trash left by irresponsible visitors. This year they gathered pieces of shattered lives and dreams. The attitude of the crew reflected the difference.