The Fort Mason Great Meadow became an aluminum garden on Saturday, with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area tweeting and Instagramming a giant mess left by the fair-weather crowds. As CBS5 notes, a lone maintenance worker toiled for hours, aided in his clean up efforts by some good Samaritan neighbors. Now, ABC7 has linked the trash to the unfortunately named (and un-permitted) event, the "Brolympics," a gathering tenuously tied to tomorrow night's Mr. Marina pageant. But, irresponsible though the event may have been, blaming it for the huge trash pile or pointing a finger at the Mr. Marina competition — or any one person or group — is also irresponsible. This is hardly the first fratty behavior seen at "Frat Mason" or in other SF parks of late. It's more the last straw that should make us consider the many others.
ABC7 tracked down "a few online posts advertising an event called the 'Brolympics,' offering beer pong games and cheap liquor sales to raise funds for a charity. The organizer is a contestant for an event called Mr. Marina." Yes, the event was unpermitted, which ABC7 implies was a problem because "At Fort Mason, the National Park Service works with conservation groups to pick up the garbage left behind after special events. But this weekend there were no event permits issued, so park police were overwhelmed." CBS5 has it that an investigation into it is therefore underway. But what will be found?
In all likelihood, not much. The Brolympics probably represented a small fraction of the park's problem that day, but it's easy to inculpate for its name and visibility. Mr. Marina organizer Brianna Haag told the Bold Italic that the contestant organizer “had about 50 friends gathered for his fundraiser as well as a designated point person who was in charge of cleaning up the mess.” Also, Haag claims the contestant emailed the Parks Department before his event but never got a response. "I think that what happened and the mess that was left behind at Fort Mason on Saturday was really unfortunate. It's sad to see that anyone in San Francisco would leave a mess like that," Haag told ABC7.
Haag is right. After weeks of news regarding Dolores Park detritus and vandalism, this recent story is an ironic shift in tune. First, "hipsters leave trash, and therefore are trash," and now it's all "bros leave trash, they're the real trash." Wouldn't the better take away be that trash people leave trash, and we can all get a little trashy?
San Francisco is more populous than ever and experiencing some nice weather to boot, and we should all abide by some basic rules: Don't release guinea pigs into the wild, or hot-wire construction vehicles, or break bottles in sandboxes. But such clear violations aren't the majority of today's park problem, which is more banal, if now very widespread: people leaving beer cans and bottles and food and crap.
Maybe the Burner contingent has something to teach the city's newcomers about leaving no trace? Because otherwise we're going to see a lot more SFPD presence in parks cracking down on drinking and fun in general, and we all know how popular that's going to be.