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Flatten your sandcastles to protect turtles, people

Large sandcastles that are not flattened at the end of the day present a hazard to beach walkers, patrol vehicles, and endangered sea turtles at Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi. Courtesy photo

Padre Island National Seashore asks beachgoers to leave flat, clean beaches

Officials are asking beachgoers to leave the sand “Clean, Dark, and Flat.” The directive comes from Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi. The #cleandarkflat campaign began several years ago to protect fledgling sea turtles on the Gulf Coast as they make their way across the beach to the ocean.

The campaign consists of three rules:


Litter, including sand shovels, rakes and pails, drink containers, snack bags, and other trash, is not only unpleasant to the eye, it can harm sea creatures and beach walkers. Free trash bags for cleanup are available at the PINS Malaquite Visitor Center.

Left-behind chairs, umbrellas, towels, tents, and floats can also inhibit the progress of mama and baby turtles.


Kemp’s ridley sea turtles on Padre Island National Seashore have built-in light detection and follow the rising sun to make it to the beach. When artificial lights are shining on the beach at night, whether from crabbers or an evening gathering, it disrupts the wildlife. Stationary spotlights are not allowed nor are homemade or purchased light poles with more than one light.

Keep the night skies dark and your walking light dim or wait for a beautiful, moonlit night to enjoy the beach.


Sandcastles should be leveled before you leave, a recent Padre Island National Seashore statement encouraged. And if you dig deep sand pits in which to bury yourself or create pools of ocean water, refill them before you leave. That 3-foot-deep trench is a monster drop-off for a 3- to 4-inch hatchling, and climbing out of it might be impossible. It could also trip up anyone walking the beach or impede patrol vehicles.

Padre Island National Seashore is located at 20420 Park Road 22 in Corpus Christi. Check its Facebook page for announcements about sea turtle hatchling releases.

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