shell stealers and trespassers

shell stealers and trespassers

Posted in the Edisto Island Forum

beachy

Union, SC

#1 May 17, 2009
This morning as I was walking beach 4 middle age people walking over an area were the signs asked not to walk because of turtle hatching and bird nesting, these old folks rode bikes to beach and were filling several bags and baskets with old shells they were picking up in restricted area. Their was nothing special about these shells. A new turtle nest was just marked in very same area early morning they were walking in area of the turtle nest. A 5th women from a golf cart went over to a sign posted in front of these shell gathers and made big sweeping motion with shelve of shirt as if to clean sign off for these folks to read she was unnoticed.
I told one of the guy's he was in restricted area and I asked him if he didn't he see signs he said he never seen signs as he took a large wire basket
of shells to his bike and he returned to the other 3 as they continued to look for shells. The open beach is full of shells for taking.
On Botany bay this past week seen a women filling a bag with shells also restriced area no shells allowed for adults one bucket for children.
Amy

Columbia, SC

#2 May 24, 2009
beachy wrote:
The open beach is full of shells for taking.
On Botany bay this past week seen a women filling a bag with shells also restriced area no shells allowed for adults one bucket for children.
Respectfully, I have been visiting Edisto Island since I was 6 months old with my family growing up and conitnue to do so with my own family now. I was raised to respect the turtle nesting areas as well as dunes and fragile marsh environments, so I understand the concern about people ignoring signs and walking in restricted areas.

However, Edisto Island is one of the richest shellbanks on our coast. Even if every person who visited took home 3 grocery bags full of shells, there would still be plenty left for others to enjoy and to help guard against erosion. The Botany beach area is literally covered with shells and, apart from the next beach over towards Charleston, has the most shells of all the beaches from Edisto to the bay. I have walked the entire coastline of this area numerous times in my life and can attest to this personally.

I think it is rediculous to limit the shell collecting as they have on Botany. I'm glad more people have access to this beautiful beach now, but I'd almost rather take a boat or walk there if I have to worry about not being able to take a bag full of shells home. Some of the most beautiful and rare shells as well as fossils can be found on Botany, and I don't think anyone is going to load up a truckful. Most people who visit are looking for a nice quiet vacation spot anyway, and are most likely not poaching or harvesting shells for their own personal gain.

On a side note, when Jeremy Cay first settled on Eddingsville, my mother and I were walking the end of the beach picking up shells together. I was about 12. The man himself road up on a horse with a shotgun and told us we were trespassing, that we had to empty our bags, and that he owned the beach all the way to the low tide line. My mother informed him that no one can own the beach past the high tide line, and that unless he had a search warrant, he better turn around and take that gun home.

I will never forget it and have hated that man since. I can only hope others are not following in his footsteps with these new restrictions on shell collecting. I would hate to see this amazing place turned into a locals only private club. The island needs money from tourism and as long as people respect the quiet and environment, let them take some shells home. Maybe they'll love it so much that they return every year, like us, and make the locals' lifestyle possible.
beachy

United States

#3 May 24, 2009
We have been visiting the area every year for a few years. And we I don't mind the very few restrictions at all because there are so many others areas besides Botany Bay and the Turtle and birding nesting areas to pick up shells. Every year we get plenty of lovely shells. We think the people who can't respect the few rules over shell collecting are very greedy.
Amy

Columbia, SC

#4 Jun 10, 2009
beachy wrote:
We have been visiting the area every year for a few years. And we I don't mind the very few restrictions at all because there are so many others areas besides Botany Bay and the Turtle and birding nesting areas to pick up shells. Every year we get plenty of lovely shells. We think the people who can't respect the few rules over shell collecting are very greedy.
I can understand and respect that many visitors feel that way. However, when the word 'greedy' gets thrown down on other visitors who just want to pick up shells and not worry about getting searched or told that they have to put them back, I have to wonder who is really being greedy. Did you read my story about Jeremy Cay at all? Do you not think that a man who threatens a mother and her minor child with a shotgun, claiming to own the entire beach to the low tide line, is greedy?
It comes down to this: the beach, nor the shells, belongs to no one. As long as there are not actions destructive to the land or inhabitants (animal or human), let people take home some shells. This newly opened access to a rarely visited portion of beach is wonderful, but a strict limitation on the collection of shells is unecessary. Most people who take the time to drive out there and walk a short distance down the beach are not going to even want to haul very much back to their car.
If you ask me, I think their hearts are in the right place, but the locals and preservationists can take things too far sometimes. I fully support keeping the island much the way it is, undeveloped, quiet, and a safe haven for wildlife, but impose the right kind of restrictions that will have a vastly positive impact on that preservation. The area with the most restrictions on shell collection is one of the hardest areas to get to and has the most variety of rare shells and fossils. In my opinion, I think this area should be open to those who seek the harder to find specimens and artifacts that will otherwise fade away and be lost forever.
Grant Mitchell

Toronto, Canada

#5 Sep 5, 2010
Edisto Beach is something you dream of and would like to see. My wife, Sharon and I will take in 2 weeks of a pleasant vacation to see what your wildlife and lifestyle can offer. In Canada I snorkle most days in summer in the St. Lawrence River. Our waters have 25 to 30 feet clarity and the Bass,Northern Pike, Drum fish and Sturgeon are friendly to watch while snorkling. Now is the time to walk the sands and take special notice of the turtle nesting areas and get expert advice on what turtle lifestyle is all about.
See you from October 9th to October 22nd on the beach.

Cheers
Grant Mitchell

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