SIESTA KEY (FOX 13) - Siesta Key has been named the number one beach in the U.S., but with that notoriety comes a flood of visitors. And when they leave, sometimes the soft sugar sand isn't quite as alluring as before they came.
Last month on Memorial Day weekend, videos posted online showed what hundreds of beach-goers can leave behind - trash. With the Fourth of July weekend upon us, Sarasota County is preparing to make sure that scene isn't repeated.
"Siesta Beach is my favorite mostly because it's very clean around here. Most other beaches have trash [lying] around," said Micaiah Macki, whose family doesn't mind the drive down from Tampa to enjoy the beach.
But when they're ready to pack up, they say they leave the beach just as they found it.
"There's a lot of seagulls out there and I know they can eat things like that," she said, referring to trash potentially left behind by visitors. "We just don't like to leave a mess."
Everyone could learn from her family's example. Over Memorial Day weekend Siesta Beach was trashed. An upset resident took video that went viral. And Sarasota County is working to make sure the same sight isn't repeated over the Fourth of July.
"There was a lot of trash that was left out on the beaches. When you've got that many people you're bound to find some, but there was a big frustration level," said Wendi Crisp.
Wendi Crisp with Keep Sarasota County Beautiful asks visitors to "Pack in" and "Pack out."
She said volunteers will be on hand during the long holiday weekend, handing out trash bags and portable ashtrays.
"We'd like to ask people to make sure they are responsible and they pick up after themselves. Make sure they're putting litter in its place. Make sure recyclables are making it to recycle cans," she said.
Sarasota County will have extra dumpsters, trash and recycle cans on hand. Following one simple rule that we're taught at an early age will keep all local beaches pristine.
"Clean up your mess because other people don't want to clean it up for you," said Macki.
In addition, temporary signage will be installed on all county-managed beaches and banners will be strategically placed at area beaches to bring attention to the proper disposal of litter.
Trucks will be stationed at Lido, Nokomis and Siesta beaches throughout the weekend for trash and debris removal. Additional dumpsters placed at Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Beach, Siesta and Turtle beaches, and the North Jetty, will be emptied July 3 and again on July 5. Extra trash cans will be placed at each beach access point within each beach park.
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.