Marble Beach littering mystery has surprise twist

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Pictures of a pile of belongings that appeared to be discarded at Marble Beach State Park drew local attention on social media. State Park Manager Tim Richey said the items weren’t discarded, however. The campsite was an emergency location as the owners dealt with some housing issues.
Photos by Russ Mitchell

DNR officials were surprised the night of Wednesday, May 10, when they found a small pile of material on the south side of the Marble Beach State Park campground.

They became more alarmed Thursday when they saw a very large pile of personal items at campsite 215, which is at an overflow campground north of the state park’s main entrance.

The list of items included furniture, luggage, artwork, clothing, pillows, electronics, pieces of carpet, a lawnmower, shovels, fishing equipment, blankets, laundry baskets and a lot of bicycles.

It was like the remnants of a garage sale after an F-3 tornado.

“That was an uncommon occurrence to have that amount of material,” Tim Richey, manager for the Gull Point complex of parks said. “Of course we have people who leave trash behind and that kind of thing, but that was unusual.”

By Friday DNR officials learned the belongings actually belonged to someone.

“This is a little bit different situation,” Richey said. “They had no intentions of leaving it there. They just didn’t have another place to put it. They were having some personal problems with housing and whatnot. But they did make arrangements to get it picked up and get it taken to a more suitable spot.”

The contents were removed from the campsite on Friday. DNR groundskeepers didn’t have to embark on a massive clean-up operation.

“We’ve been in contact with those folks and it has all been resolved,” Richey said. “They’re the ones who actually came back and got their stuff. It was a little bit of a complicated situation and there might be some things still pending on it. But, it has been cleaned up by the people who left it there.”

Typically state park guests who leave their campsite a mess are going to get a littering ticket, according to the parks manager.

“At this time, I don’t believe the DNR will be charging them with anything that I’m aware of,” Richey said. “They had no intentions of abandoning that property there and just leaving it … With that amount of material, it did show up on social media, so a lot of people found out about it and were up there looking at it. One of the other guys I’m with here said those people did report that some of their items were missing.”

The people who created the pile did pay for a night of camping on that sites where the piles were discovered.

“We’ve seen smaller incidents that were similar, but just not that much material,” Richey said. “It sounds like it came to a resolution and everything is cleaned up. It drew a lot of attention, that’s for sure.”

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