A returning resident — I was born in Southampton and attended public schools here — I managed to turn a passion for the ocean into a lifelong journey. Back in the 1980s, I served as a lieutenant town lifeguard at W. Scott Cameron Beach, off Mecox Bay. For almost a decade I served the community safeguarding the beaches and endeavored to keep it a pristine resource for the community. I come home every summer to visit family and friends, and to reminisce and enjoy this most beautiful place on Earth.
But this particular June, I noticed a distinct uptick in the usual early season pace and urgency. Cars refusing to stop at quiet intersections. Highbrow SUVs riding up on one another, exceeding local speed limits. But most disturbing was my observations of the degradation of our village beaches.
One example occurred last Wednesday on a late evening beach walk. A barbecue was on at Old Town. A host of some means had bused in celebrants to be entertained by DJs and fire dancers. There was electric lighting, tiki torches, proper tables with white tablecloths, fire pits, lobster dinners and more. It looked like a party anyone would want attend.
I was curious how the cleanup might result. So, on my morning run, I was sure to inspect the site. Overall, whoever threw this Hamptons shindig did a “fair” job removing everything. But a closer inspection revealed that the beach really had deteriorated in quality and was impacted by such a large-scale event.
Buried within the sand were multiple lobster carcasses, cigarette butts, wet towels, firewood, expended coals, torch fuel cans, a metal ice scoop, as well as a multitude of small plastic debris scattered everywhere. I find this really quite troubling and, dare say, offensive. I’m hurt by the use of our village beaches to this magnitude.
Most people have migrated here to raise families, enjoy our pristine beaches, the tranquil and bucolic surroundings, and the abundant natural beauty of our delicate coastal ecosystems. How did we stray so far from the prohibitive practices that safeguarded the village’s magnificent resources?
I’m shocked that local officials haven’t enacted stronger protective measures and oversight to ensure that our beaches are treated respectfully and properly cleaned after such a large-scale event. I certainly hope the village coffers are overflowing from permitting these events. And, hopefully, those funds are allocated toward preserving and protecting what little of the past we have left.
And one last thing: When did it become acceptable to leave bags of dogsh-t everywhere?
Paul E. Bauer III
One fine body…