Environment

People are tossing confetti on this SLO hill — and it could cost them $500

Want to throw confetti on this SLO hill? Littering could cost you

San Luis Obispo, California, officials are warning hikers not to toss confetti when taking selfie photos at the Terrace Hill Open Space area. The city is threatening $500 fines to prevent people from littering.
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San Luis Obispo, California, officials are warning hikers not to toss confetti when taking selfie photos at the Terrace Hill Open Space area. The city is threatening $500 fines to prevent people from littering.

Hikers looking for a signature shot of San Luis Obispo from the top of Terrace Hill are apparently snapping selfies while tossing confetti — and the city’s fed up with the littering.

Now, SLO officials have posted a warning sign at the Terrace Hill Open Space trailhead — along with threats of a city fine of up to $561 — in hopes of deterring people from throwing confetti or glitter in the air for photos and then leaving their scraps behind.

Doug Carscaden, a SLO supervising ranger, said that for the past year and a half the city has noticed confetti scraps at the top of the hill, a popular spot that offers panoramic views of SLO.

“We want to make people aware of what they’re doing and the effect on nature,” Carscaden said. “If people throw glitter in the sun to add to their photo, it can be a few hundred pieces of scraps, and it’s a real hassle (for city rangers) to have to pick them all up.”

Carscaden said he thinks a trend has developed at this site specifically, possibly for social media posts.

“It takes two minutes to walk there,” Carscaden said. “And whether it’s for senior pictures or fraternity and sorority date nights, people seem to be going up there and doing this.”

The Terrace Hill location is the only place in the city where rangers have seen this problem, and that’s why they’ve posted the sign at that site only.

A temporary sign warning against leaving confetti behind was posted first before a more permanent one was installed near the entrance of the hike off Bishop Street, Carscaden said.

Carscaden said that the fine, the city penalty for littering, likely would be imposed as a last resort. He said the city hopes to educate people as a goal of prevention.

Carscaden said that city park rangers monitor the area, but they have 4,000 acres of open space citywide to supervise, and have other pressing matters to deal with, such as preventing fires.

“Really, this is about getting people automatically to think, ‘I’m not going to throw confetti up there,’” Carscaden said.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.
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