Folly Beach draws a line in the sand
My wife and I moved to Folly Beach in 1997, and to be sure, the only constant in life is change itself.
Over the years we saw Folly grow exponentially in houses (70-80 percent of which are weekly rentals), the number and quality of restaurants, and day trippers who bring all their needed supplies from home, use the beach for the day, and depart without contributing in any way to our island except in the trash they leave.
While Folly is certainly a vacation spot, there is another side to this island, and it is the best part — the close-knit community that we who live here call family.
We are a special little island with unique problems. Imagine your small town (2,400 people) being visited by 40,000 plus people every weekend in the spring, summer and fall.
Finally, in the summer of 2009 the inevitable happened: The 4th of July came and hit our little paradise.
It left behind tons of trash on the beach and throughout the island.
The next time you go to a fair and see the trash people leave in the parking lot think of that times 500 — and on the beach, a place that people claim to revere, a picture postcard at the edge of one of the largest ecosystems on the planet.
This was a watershed moment for our community. It had to stop.
The people of Folly Beach drew a line in the sand and took action.
We made sure that surrounding communities were aware of our situation and that we were not going to take it anymore. We cracked down on littering, underage drinking and misbehavior.
The weekend of Memorial Day 2010 we wrote over $135,000 worth of tickets, parking not included, and let the world know it.
We have hired a new director of public safety, combined our fire and police departments to maximize security and flexibility and reopened our own dispatch operation and a full-fledged beach patrol.
This is not an example of what government can do. This is a testament to what people did and continue to do to protect our paradise.
Our citizens offer trash bags to guests who forget them and plastic cups so they can comply with the law. They pick up trash when they see it and kindly remind visitors to do the same. They are eyes and ears for our public safety officers.
An April 19 front-page story in The Post and Courier described two Folly Beach PSOs and a couple of backup officers doing the right thing on the beach. They were by all accounts the picture of restraint as they helped ensure that Folly Beach remains the family beach that we love.
Once again we are saying that we at Folly Beach will not take it anymore.
Red Sunset Lane