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Clean up crew finds several pallets, rusty nails in parts of Jupiter beach

Pallets, hundreds of rusty nails found on Jupiter beach
Posted at 10:50 PM, Jun 05, 2019

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JUPITER, Fla. — A local clean up group is sounding the alarm after finding wooden pallets and rusty nails on a stretch along Jupiter Beach.

The group suspects it’s coming from bonfires set by teenagers.

The county stresses that any fires set without a permit by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue are illegal.

What’s worse, the bonfires are being set in the middle of sea turtle nesting season.

The piles were found about a mile and a half north of the Juno Beach pier starting at beach access point 38.

It’s paradise at first glance but when you take a closer look, you’ll see pallet after pallet. Nail after nail.

“It’s disgusting,” said Brian Fowler, who runs the East Point Clean Up group. “It’s just one of many.”

Fowler started the clean up group because the area between Juno Beach and Jupiter — which is known as East Point — can be very secluded and is a popular spot for parties. Several volunteers have joined him and they are working to obtain their non-profit status to conduct weekly clean ups.

“We all care about our environment, our beach,” he said.

Lately, Fowler said he’s been finding the bonfire remnants almost every day in the last few weeks.

“Right around graduation time for high school kids,” he said. “There’s a better way to go about having a good time than having a fire.”

During our visit alone, we found at least six piles. One pile was still intact, with unburnt pallets and cardboard laying on the beach. It was too big to remove, so we reported it to the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation department.

“There’s 50 to 100 nails next to each pallet,” said Fowler, as he cleaned up the piles.

All of the piles were located right next to turtle nests. At least two piles were sitting next to beachgoers laying in the sun.

“Just be careful, don’t step in the dark spots,” Fowler warned.

Armed with a long magnet, he picked up as many nails and wooden planks as he could and dumped them into a bucket.

“We got to protect the beach, nobody wants to step on this,” he said.

Clean up member Ashlin Galbraith worries about bringing her dog, Hunter, to the beach now.

“The pallet fires are happening right at the entry points,” she said. “You don’t think about what’s left in the aftermath. You don’t know what you’re going to step on.”

Fowler says he’s reported the issue to police and the county.

In the meantime, he’s also getting through to some of the teens he says are starting the bonfires. One even sent him a video of them throwing nails away.

“Some of them are listening, some of them are a little stubborn,” he said. “I’m just educating them on how to go about it.”

PBC Parks and Recreation said they’re investigating the matter and issued WPTV this warning to beachgoers looking to break the county ordinance:

Beach Fires are not allowed on any Palm Beach County operated beaches without a permit from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Beach fires must be regulated for safety reasons, including ensuring they are properly supervise and maintained at a safe size, varying wind conditions, and ensuring that any fires are completely extinguished to prevent hot coals being present the next morning. It is currently turtle nesting season which requires beaches to remain dark after sunset. Light from a fire can confuse hatchlings and may prevent a nesting turtle from coming ashore. All beach parks close at sunset so no one should be on the beaches after that time.

Jupiter Police have also been made aware of the incident. The police department said they patrol the area as much as possible, especially on the weekend. However, they encourage visitors who see anything to call them and report it.

Fowler just hopes something is done before someone gets hurt.

“I believe everybody should do something about it, it’s disgusting,” he said. “Why would we allow this to continue?”

If you would like to volunteer or help East Point Clean Up, call 561-644-8168.