Beach-goers Beware: "Leave No Trace" Law Being Enforced

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Panama City Beach officials are reminding beachgoers to clean-up after themselves. The Beach and Bay County passed the Leave No Trace ordinances two years ago, preventing people from leaving their property on he beach overnight.

With summer now here, Panama City Beach Police are reminding beach-goers to pay extra attention.

"In the past we have a had a problem with people leaving their tents out over night their chairs their coolers," said Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman.

In 2012, Panama City Beach and Bay County officials passed identical ordinances, banning people from leaving personal property overnight along 18 miles of shoreline. They says the Leave No Trace ordinance is highly enforced.

Whitman said, "My officers go out 7 days a week during the summer time and ATV's during the daytime handing out information to the visitors.

"This just makes sure that the beach is here for everybody and it's the World's Most Beautiful Beaches remain the World's Most Beautiful Beaches," said Bay County Tourist Development Director Dan Rowe.

Last year police began warning people about Leave No Trace. After a few month grace period officers began enforcing the ordinance. Police leave bright yellow tags on the items in violation at sunset. If they're still there later that night, officers pick-up the items. There are no fines, but the owner sometimes winds-up losing expensive possessions.

Whitman says "We don't keep it, we don't try to sell it, we don't try to find the owner. We just throw it away. Enforcement is three or four days out of the week in the evening hours after 7 o'clock. No set days it's hit and miss that way there is no patterns."

Some say it may be working. This year police say they've noticed fewer violations.

"People understand because we usually get the same repeat visitors, so they understand Leave No Trace," said Whitman.

The Leave No Trace ordinance is posted at each public beach access, and in hotel lobbies. Occasional the city will remind visitors on the banner planes as well.