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Leave Only Your Footprints

Leave Only Your Footprints

Sparkling salt water and crisp, clean sand along the beaches play a large part in what makes Ocean City’s coastline so welcoming.

You’ve probably seen signs posted on the dunes and walkways reading “Leave Only Your Footprints.” We all know what it means-- don’t leave your empty cans or leftovers on our beaches!

But where did this tagline and campaign originally come from?

In 2006, Ocean City’s chapter of the Surfrider Foundation started the “Leave Only Your Footprints” campaign to encourage beachgoers to leave the beaches cleaner than they found them.

Before this initiative became a brand that we all know and support, it was a lot easier to walk onto the beach and find some sort of debris or trash, no matter what street you were on. Now, all you see are footprints. Starting as a five-year plan, this campaign has become an everlasting program to keep our beaches clean.

Whether you like to surf or not, whether you live in Ocean City, vacation here once a summer, or have never even visited, it doesn’t matter--anyone can join the national Surfrider Foundation to help upkeep Maryland beaches.

The OC chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, founded in June of 1999, was made up of activists and enthusiasts wanting to keep the town’s beaches and waters clean for locals, vacationers, and the overall environment.


About four years ago, in 2014, Ocean City’s chapter of the Surfrider Foundation revamped itself and became the Ocean City Surf Club. If you’ve been around town for awhile, you may remember the Ocean City Surf Club from 1963, originally founded by Skill, Al and Carl Johnson.

Now, members of the Ocean City Surf Club continues to carry out all of the responsibilities and actions as with the national Surfrider Foundation, but are also invested in securing scholarships for students in surrounding areas.

Membership with the club includes the options of individual membership, family membership, business membership or a lifetime individual membership, and the fees go to both protecting the town’s natural resources and local scholarship programs.

By eliminating trash along the beaches, we eliminate trash and debris in the ocean, therefore eliminating the harm done to marine life and stopping the rise of mercury levels in our fish, and so on.

So sit back, relax and enjoy your vacation in town--but remember, Leave Only Your Footprints!