We found trash at nearly every campsite where we stopped along the coast. The only exception? Small barrier islands. Pam LeBlanc photo

One thing I noticed as I chased the 3rd Coast Cowboys Epic Kayak Journey up the Texas coast the last two weeks?
From the first night, when I camped at Mansfield Cut, the passage between North and South Padre Islands, to the finish point at Walter Umphrey State Park near Port Arthur, nearly every place we pitched a tent or delivered supplies to the team was fouled with discarded plastic bottles, food wrappers and beer cans.
Hopping from boulder to boulder on jetties, I spotted trash in every nook and cranny. I found toilet paper in the sand dunes, where endangered sea turtles nest. So much trash, along with a collection of old tires, was strewn around one spot on Bolivar Peninsula where the paddlers camped that it looked like a dump. (And, in a way, I guess it was.)

Jimmy Harvey sets up his tent on a small barrier island in Matagorda Bay. Islands like this were mostly trash free. Pam LeBlanc photo

As we made our way up the coast, the only places not buried in trash were the islands accessible only by boat. There, bright green grass waved in the breeze, and gray and white pieces of driftwood stood out like bones.
I’ve never understood the mentality of litterers. Do they think it’s someone else’s job to clean up after them? Do they think trash disappears? Do they think pristine beaches and fields look better caped in discarded tents (yes, we saw that), Fritos bags and broken coolers?
People fishing seem to be particularly piggish. I found bait packages, fishing line, broken awnings, single-use grocery bags and snack containers.
I brought spare trash bags with me on the second half of the trip, so I could pick up some of the refuse. Not a pleasant pastime, and it hardly made a dent, but I’m kind of obsessive-compulsive. It made me feel a teensy bit better.
Think about it. If every person who visited a park or beach picked up a few extra pieces of garbage left by someone else, we could make a difference.
Please, Take 3 for the Sea.

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