Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department is asking people to be mindful this holiday weekend as they head out to city parks and the various greenbelts.
Maintenance crews say the Monday after Easter is always one of the hardest for the Parks and Rec team because so much trash is left behind.
“As the park receives more traffic, especially during a holiday weekend, and one that is focused on more outdoor scenarios like Easter, we do see a heavier impact,” said Park Ranger Tessa Rangel.
People using the trails Friday afternoon said they were already starting to see some litter piling up.
“Some styrofoam, some wraps, some granola bar wrappers and so on,” said John Victoria, who’s visiting from out of town.
“It’s how you really ruin somebody’s experience, and it’s something that’s really simple,” said Austinite Caleb Polacheck, who regularly helps clean up Austin’s parks.
Rangel is urging people to plan ahead for the weekend.
“Do a little research on the area you’re going to visit,” she said. “See what the expectations are. Know the rules.”
Rangel is also asking visitors not to bring confetti eggs to parks over the weekend. She says small pieces of confetti are some of the hardest trash to clean up.
Parks and Recreation is already planning special cleanup efforts for Monday. Extra trash cans will also be placed out in parks and along trails over the weekend.
Last year, the department launched the “Leave No Trace” campaign to educate the public about efforts to keep parks clean. The program was launched late in the year, so this spring and summer, PARD is ramping up efforts to create awareness about the campaign.
According to a Parks and Rec spokesperson, the program has received more funding this year, so PARD will be pushing a social media campaign as well as taking out print and radio ads.