OCEAN CITY – It has been over a year since the Ocean City
chapter of the Surfrider Foundation began their five-year campaign to improve
the beaches of Ocean City with their “Leave Only You Footprints” program.
Coming before the Mayor and City Council last Monday night, Terry Steimer of
the Surfrider Foundation updated city officials on how well year one did and
presented their initiatives for year two.
“Last year we came here on behalf of the Surfrider
Foundation because we noticed two years ago the amount of debris that is left
on the beach when we came here to surf,” Steimer said. “So we thought there was
something we needed to do about this.”
That was when the foundation initiated the five-year
campaign with the slogan, “Please leave only your footprints.” The purpose of
the program was to bring attention to locals and tourists alike that everyone
needs to keep the beach, city, and bays clean.
For their first year’s initiative, Steimer explained how
725 of the large blue trashcans that dot the 10 miles of beach in Ocean City
were stenciled with the footprint slogan.
“All the trashcans you see on the beach in the summertime
were painted by the Surfrider Foundation, students from Stephen Decatur high
school and middle school, and students from Salisbury University,” he said. “We
feel all people needed was a slight nudge to do the right thing.”
Steimer went on to say how they painted 300 more this year
that will hit the beaches within a month or so.
“The year before last, Bruce Gibbs [Superintendent of Public Works Maintenance] said he
had four to five calls from persons on the beach complaining about the
condition of the beach,” he explained. “Last year he had no calls.”
For this year, the foundation has their sights set higher.
“This year we hope to do aerial advertising on the
weekends of Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Labor Day,” Steimer said.
A large banner will also be draped across 90th Street that
will sport the Leave Only Your Footprints slogan. However, the program won’t
stop there as the foundation also looks to stencil the slogan across the backs
of the 16 trash collection trucks that traverse the town.
“We’ll apply the
stencil and we’ll maintain it for the period of the next four years if you
allow it,” he said to the council. “Again we ask for no money from the city, it
will be at our expense and our time, all we need is your okay.”
Public Works Director Hal Adkins said he would work
alongside the foundation when applying the stencils, since some trucks are
rotated out for paint jobs and other things of the sort, to make sure exposure
is maximized and cost is minimized.
It was then that Councilman Lloyd Martin made a motion to
go ahead and approve Steimer’s requests and said, “I think it’s a great program
and I think it helps keep the beach clean. Anything we can do to keep the beach
clean is good.”
The motion passed unanimously.