DANA POINT : Festival Trash Gives Park Rangers the Blues

Doheny State Beach on Tuesday became simultaneously a paradise for sea gulls and a headache for park officials, thanks to the mounds of trash left over from a weekend blues concert.

When officials arrived at the beach park at 6 a.m., the litter and garbage scattered around the beach park in the aftermath of more than 12,000 concert visitors was being rifled en masse by thousands of birds, said Doug Harding, the beach's supervising ranger.

He immediately called in crews from other state parks for cleanup duty and will present the concert promoters with an as yet undetermined bill for the work, Harding said.

"Our morning ranger said it was like an Alfred Hitchcock movie here--'The Birds,' " Harding said. "There were more gulls than you could count with a calculator. We had to do something."

The concert organizers, who presented the third annual Orange County Blues Festival at the beach park on Saturday and Sunday, had cleanup crews on Monday dismantling the stage and food booths, but left trash scattered about the picnic areas and trash cans overflowing, Harding said.

After a call from Harding, the organizers arrived Tuesday with laborers, but it was largely too late, he said. A spokesman for the concert organizers could not be reached for comment.

"We just needed it done faster," said Harding, a ranger at Doheny for six years. "This park has about 1 million visitors a year. We have three catered events scheduled here this weekend. People come to Doheny because we make the picnic grounds look like a golf course."

Surfer Patrick Crosby said he couldn't believe the mess.

"I was appalled," said Crosby, 47, an engineer from San Clemente. "At first I wasn't sure who to be mad at. But I don't think a state park is appropriate for a concert anyway."

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