Partying Litterbugs Force Changes in San Francisco's National Parkland

Photo: Courtesy NPS

Does this photo look like someone's backyard or property of the National Park Service? Unfortunately, it's the latter, taken after last year's Fourth of July celebration in Fort Mason Great Meadow, a park in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. (More photos can be seen here). That incident, plus another last year on Earth Day, is still fresh in the minds of park rangers, who today announced new rules for the meadow.

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It's always the bad kids ruining for the rest, right? Now kegs and glass containers are banned. Not that those items are essential for enjoying a national park unit, but it's pretty astonishing that kegs were allowed in the first place -- although not explicitly -- and not one bit surprising that the privilege was taken away when it was taken advantage of.

"We're trying to take slow methodical steps," says park spokesperson Alexandra Picavet, who calls this party-then-litter thing a new phenomenon. "At this time were not banning alcohol because we hope people take more responsibility... but that's a step that we will take into consideration in the future."

She said more trash and recycling bins will be placed in the meadow this year and new signs will be put up, notifying meadow visitors of the new rules, but also enforcing a BBQ grill prohibition that keeps getting ignored.

And if you think this problem is unique to Golden Gate, people getting nerdy over the extreme heat this week in Death Valley are also littering: an unusual amount of eggs and cartons are being abandoned after visitors attempt to fry eggs on sidewalks.

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