Mexico Beach Allows Visitors to Leave Beach Gear

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MEXICO BEACH-- Folks in Mexico Beach say tourists are leaving behind a lot of their personal property, but Mexico Beach does not have a Leave-No-Trace ordinance like Panama City Beach.

The holiday weekend means Mexico Beach will be packed, but not just with people.

"We allow our visitors and our residents to leave their stuff on the beach overnight," President of the Mexico Beach Community Development Council Kimberly Shoaf said.

Take a walk on the beach and you'll find beach gear left behind as people take a break from the sand and surf.

"For the most part everybody's pretty accommodating of that factor, and they try to keep their stuff neat and tidy," Shoaf said.

Mexico Beach does not enforce any kind of no-trace-left-behind law. It may be convenient, but not all tourists think it's a good idea.

"I think they should require them to take it in. For the safe side both for the beach and for the people," Carmern Miranda, a frequent visitor to Bay County from Moultrie, GA, said.

Officials say the tough part is finding the right balance. They want to give beach goers freedom, while keeping the beaches maintained.

"Some people like it. Some people don't. You work with each other, and you try to find a medium that suits everybody," Sloaf said.

"As far as i can tell, they're not in anyone's way. It just saves a lot of time and they can get right down to having fun," Mike Vansuilichem, a visitor from Grand Rapids, MI, said.

Officials urge people to also keep safety in mind.

"I would think if that strong weather came in it could become dangerous to have things out on the beach that aren't completely tied down," Vansuilichem said.

Residents and tourists can agree on one thing, cleaning up after yourself makes everyone happy.

The city is now running clean-ups three times a day

Shoaf is urging visitors to tidy-up at the end of the day and keep your gear away from the water.