CARLSBAD — North County locals paddled Carlsbad’s Batiquitos Lagoon on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 in an effort to preserve the area during the fifth annual Batiquitos Lagoon Clean-Up Event.
More than 150 kayakers registered for the sold-out event hosted by the nonprofit Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation to collect trash in the lagoon. The event’s $35 registration fee benefits the foundation’s many conversation efforts throughout the year.
“It’s a really fun event; we get a lot of trash out of here,” Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation President Fred Sandquist said. “It’s great because the registration goes back to the various programs that we do with the foundation.”
Kayakers of all ages donned life vests to participate in the cleanup activity. Repeat attendees were some of the first to launch Saturday morning, eager to get back out on the water. “This is my third time — it would have been my fourth but I missed last year’s registration date,” Encinitas resident Judi Works said.
Coincidentally, the highly anticipated Batiquitos Lagoon trash collection landed on the same day as other widely celebrated conservation awareness dates, including Coastal Clean-Up Day and National Public Lands Day.
“You don’t usually find a group of people who are willing to pay money to pick up trash, but they will for this opportunity,” Sandquist said. “This year, with the storms we had, we expect to find a lot more trash than usual.”
Outdoor enthusiasts jumped at the chance to participate in the event, with even more on a waiting list in hopes of a cancellation, which gives the foundation and registered attendees access to a normally restricted area.
Department of Fish and Game law prohibits flotation devices in the lagoon unless it’s for a specific purpose, like wildlife counting. However, they agree to the popular once-a-year event because it has made a huge difference in cleaning up the lagoon, Sandquist said.
“We’ve always cleaned up around the lagoon but we had never done anything with the trash that was in the water,” Sandquist said. “They originally agreed to one day a year but since it’s been so successful and popular, now it’s an entire weekend.”
Local companies Hobie Cat and REI sponsored the event and loaned more than a dozen single and tandem kayaks to the cleanup efforts. Employees volunteered as guides and helped with the hourly group launches.
“It’s always an honor to come down here and contribute to keeping the lagoon clean,” Hobie Cat’s director of marketing Dan Mangus said of their fourth year with the event.
For more information about the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation and the various programs it hosts, visit www.batiguitosfoundation.org.