Popular St. Johns County beach trashed during high school graduation party, residents say

Volunteers quickly helped clean up the mess

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – One of the area’s most popular and beautiful beaches was trashed Thursday night, residents told News4JAX.

Witnesses said hundreds of recent high school graduates held a party at Mickler’s Beach in Ponte Vedra Beach and left behind thousands of cans and bottles.

The good news is volunteers quickly hopped in to restore the beach — but they were not happy about it.

Volunteers worked for hours Friday to clean up the mess that included all sorts of beer cans, liquor bottles and garbage.

Mickler’s Beach is known as a great place to go to pick up shark teeth, but that’s not what the man known as “Bucket Bob” was doing on Friday.

He said he picked up about 3,000 alcoholic beverages total on Friday.

He’s here almost daily cleaning up, but this time is different. There was trash everywhere from the sand to the dunes, which are actually protected.

News4JAX asked him why he does what he does.

“Cause I love the beach. I go back to when I was a boy scout. One of my projects was to do a large trash pickup around the neighborhood and this kind of stuck with me. I don’t like seeing trash in the green areas. It’s our space for enjoying here,” he said.

Several people told News4JAX there was a large high school graduation party Thursday night just south of the beach access. Beyond allegations of underage drinking, there are also complaints of littering which is also against the law.

But there are also teens who are doing good, like Brandon Almaria. He cleaned up on behalf of Beaches Go Green. He just graduated Tocoi Creek High School and is bound for the University of Florida but took time out of his day to clean the beach.

It’s OK for you to have fun, but you have to remember that this is the one place that were given, the one earth we can live on. And if we wanted to keep it that way for the next generations to come you have to do your part, clean up after yourself and make it cleaner than how you came here,” Almaria said.

If you want to get involved with local cleanup efforts, you can go to BeachesGoGreen.org.

News4JAX reached out to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and a spokesperson said they are working on a statement.


About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.