By Eric Caldwell

Triplicate Staff Writers

The Beach Cleanup and Scavenger Hunt 2001 this past Saturday, like the river cleanup the weekend before, was the most successful and fun ever.

Every time something like this happens, I realize how good it is for community building. This was the best beach cleanup since Ive been here, which was 1993, said Kevin Hendrick who helped organize the event and is the director of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority.

The combined efforts of 11 scavenger teams made up of local agencies and groups resulted in the collection of nearly 8,000 pounds of trash and 270 pounds of recyclables from local beaches and roadsides.

And the effort was, by many who spoke of it, more fun than work. The scavenger teams were dispatched from the gazebo at Beach Front Park at approximately 9:30 a.m. with heavy-duty trash bags, gloves and cellular phones donated by U.S. Cellular.

The teams raced to their chosen beaches and began to search for the items on their scavenger lists. Among the requirements for a completed list were at least one vehicle tire, a styrofoam buoy, a coffee cup from Jitterbeans or The Coffee Connection, a crab trap and a copy of The Daily Triplicate.

Ron Cole did a fabulous job of putting the scavenger hunt together. I think it was that extra level of fun that got people motivated to get as much trash as they did, Hendrick said.

As the teams feverishly collected items, the team captains would call the headquarters at the gazebo to report what materials on the list were found. It was a friendly but heated competition. Teams that found some of the more important and hard-to-find items would cheer with a feeling of accomplishment and success.

Hendrick was the designated collector of hazardous waste. When toxic materials were found, Hendrick was phoned and asked to collect the waste.

Several sorting stations were positioned around the areas of the competition. A dumpster and scale were located centrally along Pebble Beach, South Beach and at the gazebo.

As teams returned to the stations with their collections, the waste was weighed, tallied and sorted to remove recyclable material.

At noon, the teams returned to the gazebo to turn in their scavenger lists and devour the donated potluck cuisine and pizza from Pizza Hut.

As the scavenger teams rested, nearly exhausted from the efforts, it was apparent that feelings of camaraderie and accomplishment were prevalent.

Though the competition was officially over, the collection of waste was not. A large Redwoods State Park truck, equipped with a dump-bed, was busily traveling between the cleanup headquarters and the area behind Ocean World where the Pizza Hut team had collected mattresses, long metal pipes and all sorts of trash off harbor beach.

The teams anxiously awaited the awards ceremony as the final items were brought back to the area near the gazebo.

The royalty of the event, the King and Queen of Butts, were Cody Faulk and Jennifer Grimes of the Triplicate team with a total count of 753 cigarette butts.

The prize for the most unusual items collected went to Gateway for a daybed and water heater found in the same location.

The most ironic prize went the Triplicate team for a Kentucky Fried Chicken sign that read Keep it clean. The sign was originally hung on the bathroom doors at the restaurant instructing employees to wash their hands.

The prize for the most weight in waste collected went to the Boy Scout Troop 10, which brought in 2,280 pounds of debris from beaches near the Wastewater Treatment Plant and Battery Point.

And a prize went to the one team that found every required item on the scavenger hunt list Foursquare Church.

Carol McCall of Redwood State Parks said the cleanup was the largest we had ever had. It was a great turnout and a fun day.