A proposal to reduce trash in Zilker Park

The creeks banks of Barton Creek -- between the spillway and Lou Neff Point in Zilker Park -- is a beloved place for park visitors to experience the cold water of the springs in a location where they are allowed to bring picnics.

Busy summer weekends in Austin, Texas' Zilker Park often look like this:

The trash accumulates during the day, but becomes increasingly difficult for PARD Staff to remove: it is an unpaved trail and crowded with visitors.

By late afternoon and into the evening, the trash builds up and looks like this:

PARD maintenance staff actually does an excellent job removing trash and litter; however, they must wait until the next morning to perform these tasks, when the area is uncrowded again. The following photos show the morning remains, after PARD Staff has made their first pass to remove most of the garbage and litter. You will notice that the litter becomes smaller and smaller as it approaches the water line of Barton Creek.

Garbage and litter that remains overnight in this area becomes a hazard in several ways. The litter could be moved into the creek by wind or rain. The trash cans can be invaded by animals. My final photo in this set shows a dead rat, right in the middle of the trail path near the picnic areas.

Here is my solution. I propose a new rule for picnickers along the creek banks in Zilker Park in the summer of 2024: "Carry in/Carry out."

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