Friday through Sunday: Reggae on the River.
Monday: I had company in town so we went down Old Benbow Drive to one of my favorite local swimming holes. At the turnout there were the leftover remnants of a weekend of camping by the river. The place was trashed beyond belief. Garbage piled high, bottles everywhere. It reeked so retchingly bad because someone had emptied their sewage right there in the turnout. There was a section obviously used as a toilet as toilet paper and feces were strewn randomly over a wide area. The river bar itself had trash and feces abounding.
Tuesday: I went kayaking from Richardson Grove to Fish Creek. I have been doing this regularly all summer and while I occasionally have to grab some trash from the river, this was a record setting day. Bottles, cans, plastic bags, clothing, etc. When we got out at Fish Creek the amount of garbage there was again more than I have ever seen. My visiting friends couldn’t believe how horrible the area looked.
Wednesday: Bottles (plastic and glass), broken glass, hundreds of cigarette butts, half of a joint on a rock, diapers, one sandal, one shoe, a pair of panties, shirts, pants, socks, used toilet paper, feces, feces and more feces and ... used Reggae wrist bands. This is some of what I picked up at Fish Creek, one of the Benbow area’s most popular and beautiful local swimming holes.
Over the weekend there were people camped right on the river bar in this area, right across the river from the “real” campground.
Last year after Reggae: I went to the Mateel’s board meeting to complain about the lack of control over offsite camping in the Benbow area and was told that despite my direct input to security they were unaware of or unable to control the situation but that they would be more aware and more in control next year.
One month or so prior to Reggae this year: I talked with the Mateel’s director and the Reggae’s site manager and was reassured that they would control offsite camping. Despite that, there were still many people camped along Benbow Drive in addition to the areas specifically mentioned above.
The truth is that the Mateel has no control over this issue. This is why Benbow is an inappropriate place for this type of event. Nor is anywhere near our beautiful environs appropriate. I know that Reggae is (supposedly) leaving Benbow next year, but that just moves the feces upstream a bit. The main reason they want to move is so that they can increase the size of the event. It’s out of control as it is and they want to make it bigger. This will probably be rubber-stamped by the County Planning Department and the supervisors.
And who’s to blame for all of this? I am. I wish I’d screamed a little louder, took a more active stance. I know that being absolutely against Reggae is not the most popular position to take, but there is no alternative except to stand by and watch our area trashed. I wish I could take every last bit of feces left by Reggae and drop it in the Mateel office.
People are pigs.
Growth is not progress.