MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As new people continue to visit Horry County’s beaches every week, authorities say it’s getting difficult to educate everyone about why it’s important to stay off of the sand dunes.
“If you’re from Ohio or Tennessee, how do you know to stay off the sand dunes, or ‘why can’t I just leave my chair there for the night when I have a house that I’m gonna come back into the next day,'” says Myrtle Beach State Park Ranger, Ann Wilson.
Officials say some beach equipment was left on the sand dunes in North Myrtle Beach last Friday. While Park Ranger Wilson says this incident was likely the worst case scenario, it’s an example of the constant battle she faces trying to inform new visitors of why they should stay off of the dunes.
“When you have such a revolving population like we do here, everyday is really a brand new day,” she says.
The sand dunes not only provide a home to many of the beach’s wildlife, but they also protect against damage from high tides, especially during bad storms and hurricanes.
According to Wilson, often times beach visitors aren’t aware that they’re harming the environment, or that walking on the dunes or storing items on them is against the law in Horry County. Those who break this law could be fined up to $500 or even be arrested.
However, the park ranger believes an even bigger consequence of destroying the dunes is eliminating the protection they provide against beach erosion.
“Without the protection of the sand dunes, if we get a big storm, they may not have a place to come to the next year,” says Wilson.
She believes educating the public about the importance of the dunes is the best solution to making sure they’re still around for the next generation.