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It was still dark outside when Antonio began picking up trash at Brackenridge Park Monday morning. He wore gloves as he bagged pieces of piñatas, paper plates, and broken foldable chairs that were strewn throughout the park’s picnic areas.
“They call this ‘The Dump’ the day after Easter,” he said.
Families stake their claims for picnic and camping areas at Brackenridge Park as early as Thursday for the Easter weekend. It’s one of 12 parks that lifts its evening curfew for weekend festivities.
Antonio said he’s been coming to the park since he was a kid and he’s frustrated with the way it’s treated during Easter weekend. He comes out every year to help clean up the park after campers have gone home.
“What they’re doing is teaching their children that it’s okay (to litter). Generation after generation continues, the same thing all over again,” he said.
City Parks and Recreation Department employees were also on the scene Monday morning. Phillip John Martinez said it will take about a week to pick up all the trash on park grounds and in the nearby stretch of the San Antonio River.
“Maybe they should start charging if you want to come out and camp,” he said. “Garner State Park (in Uvalde County) was like this in the ’70s and they changed all of that. Now you have to have reservations for a table.”
The Parks and Recreation Department held four informal meetings from March 27-April 3 to provide recycling tips and trash bags for community members who frequent the parks during Easter weekend.
The meetings seemed to make an impact. Recycling bags, which were full to the brim, sat beside overflowing trash cans.
“All of these black bags and recycling bags belong to the City and then some people are pretty nice and they will help us out,” said Parks and Recreation Department employee Jesse Sabedra. “This year they did pretty good. I was surprised while driving up. I usually see way more trash than this.”