ONLINE UPDATE: Thousands gather on Masonboro for Fourth

by Kelly Corbett
Thursday, July 4, 2013

To celebrate July Fourth, about 2,000 people gathered on the northern end of the Masonboro Island beach strand and surrounding boats and water.

About 60 Masonboro.org volunteers were handing out trash bags, picking up trash and telling visitors about the importance of keeping Masonboro Island clean so public access is not restricted in the future.

This is the organization’s fourth year dedicating its July Fourth to keeping Masonboro clean.

“I think it’s going very well,” said Richard Johnson, one of the Masonboro.org founders, at about 1:45 p.m. “It’s a larger crowd. It came later. … I’m starting to think it was just as crowded as it was last year.”

The most common injury is from people stepping on oyster shells. Some fights typically break out in the late afternoon.

Volunteers were out at Masonboro by 9 a.m. and will most likely remain there until about 9 p.m.

“We’re expecting to stay as late as we need to stay,” he said.

Johnson said so far they have been able to remove all trash off of the island the day of the holiday.

“We find a lot of Rainbow sandals,” Johnson said, listing off some of the common items found at the end of the day. “… I get all the towels I need for a year to clean my boat.” Volunteers also gather keys, coolers and broken chairs and tents.

After most have left the island, the trash is carried by boat back to the Johnson’s home. He said it takes about 50 trips to carry 4,000 pounds of trash from Masonboro to his home, which is the amount of trash collected last year.

The contents from the three Waste Management dumpsters are taken to a conveyer belt and sorted, because about 80 percent of what is collected is recyclable.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputies stationed on Masonboro said they were unable to comment.

Kelly Corbett volunteered with Masonboro.org for the mid-day shift, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

email kelly@luminanews.com

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