People comb for trash on closing day at Jetty Island

EVERETT —- Tyler Ballard, 8, of Snohomish, is this year’s Jetty Island trash collection king.

Tyler, his mother and other helpers — working as “Team Tyler” — rounded up 301 pounds of junk on Monday as part of the annual trash cleanup competition held on the island just off the Everett shoreline.

Altogether, nearly 600 pounds of refuse was weighed, recorded and attributed to a person or group.

The total, though, was undoubtedly higher, said Kraig Hansen, the city of Everett’s park ranger for Jetty Island.

“A lot of people didn’t even put their name on the board, they just wanted to give back a little bit,” he said.

The Jetty Island Ferry carries visitors from the 10th Street Marina Park to the island and back every day from early July to Labor Day each year.

The park averaged about 700 visitors per day this summer, park naturalist Grady Warnock said — roughly 42,000 for the season.

Cleaning up the park on the last day of the season has been an annual tradition since 1985, Hansen said.

A take of about 500 to 600 pounds is normal, he said. On Monday, items included cables, tires, giant bolts from barges, along with plastic bottles, chunks of Styrofoam, paper and plastic bags. Recyclable items are picked out and the rest is disposed of by the Port of Everett, Hansen said.

Some of the collectors are frequent visitors to the island who just want to keep it clean, they say.

Karen and Pete Thompson of Marysville have participated in the cleanup for 17 straight years now, Karen Thompson said.

They used to bring their kids out frequently every summer and then take part in the cleanup the last day.

“Now the kids are gone but we still come out,” she said.

The Thompsons came in second on Monday with 268 pounds.

Hansen gave them 100 pounds of credit for a couch they found on the beach earlier in the summer at the south end of the island.

David Engle of Everett, a regular kite flyer at the island, rounded up 61 pounds on his own, including a long, heavy, rusty metal pole that weighed about 30 on its own.

Engle, who came in second in last year’s competition, wound up donating his total to Tyler Ballard. Park naturalist Analissa Merrill donated a 40-pound tire she found to the Thompsons’ total.

Tyler and the Thompsons won Jetty Island shirts and trinkets from a gift box.

“The whole point is just to get more people to participate,” Karen Thompson said.

Earlier in the summer, Tyler brought a heavy bag of trash he collected to Hansen and asked if he could have a Jetty Island T-shirt.

Hansen told Tyler if he brought in nine more bags of trash similar to the first one, he would get the T-shirt. He got his shirt on Monday and his team won a hoodie.

Trish Ballard, Tyler’s mom, said she teaches her son the importance of keeping the Earth clean.

Tyler likes picking up the trash, he said, “because it takes care of nature.”

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

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