FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – As sea turtles begin nesting along the forgotten coast, tourists are making their own mark on Florida’s beaches. On St. George’s Island, trash and beach equipment aren’t the only things being left behind.
“A lot of times people that are staying in houses, they come out, they dig deep holes. There was one that was probably six-feet-deep one time. People actually went and bought lumber and were constructing something in it and it was just for their kids while they were here on vacation,” Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said.
Sheriff Smith said the large holes are a huge safety hazard and interrupting sea turtles who come on shore to lay their eggs. These reptiles, as hefty as 300 pounds, have been found trapped in these man-made holes.
“And she’ll keep trying to dig her way out. But she can’t climb up an incline like these holes are so she could dehydrate and die before we could get to her,” said Kimberly Crossen, Assistant Coordinator for St. George Island’s Sea Turtle Patrol.
Crossen also explains the large holes also affect other beach-goers and first responders who are rushing to an emergency.
“Not only does it present a challenge to our turtles, it can cause a problem for pets, if our rescue vehicles need to get on the beach to save somebody that’s in the water struggling,” Crossen said.
The Sea Turtle Patrol along with Franklin County Sheriff’s Department ask that you throw away your trash, stop leaving your beach supplies behind, and keep the beaches flat. For more information on how you can help, visit the St. George Island Volunteer Turtlers Facebook page.