Locals hesitant to visit trashed Lehigh Acres lake park

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Barefoot Lake Park in Lehigh Acres encourages people to be one with nature, but it seems to be having the opposite effect with all of the trash littering the area.

If you gave Dawn Chamberlain and her family a choice, they’d spend their Sunday at Barefoot Lake Park.

lake park
Litter at a lake park in Lehigh Acres. CREDIT: WINK News

“It’s a mess right now. But I’m gonna get it cleaned up with or without help,” said Chamberlain, “because my family loves it out here.”

About a month ago, Chamberlain went around the lake and filled 15 bags with trash.

When WINK News showed Florida Gulf Coast University ecology and environmental studies instructor Chad Evers the trashed waterway, he called it dangerous to the environment.

“The paper will break down eventually,” said Evers, “but if you’ve got plastics and metals, those things persist in that environment for hundreds of years, and then it can also contribute to, you know, microplastics getting into our waters, which then ends up in our drinking water, ends up in fish that end up in our food supply and ultimately ended up in our own bodies.”

The Chamberlain family just wants everyone to leave the park with what they brought in because they worry it will get shut down.

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