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Forest Theatre sees increase in litter and bouldering

There has been a recent increase in litter and something interesting — candle wax — found at Forest Theatre.

Battle Park Manager Nick Adams is in charge of the maintenance and event planning at Forest Theatre and has noticed more litter than usual.

“This has been an ongoing thing, and usually people are really respectful in terms of picking up after themselves and not making an impact that can affect other people out at the theater, but it just seems like this year, there have been multiple incidents of people using candles and the wax dripping on the stone work,” Adams said.

Adams said the stone work at the Forest Theatre is part of a historical site, and the effects of candle wax can be harmful.

“The only way to clean it off is to use chemicals on the stones or physically brush it with a wire brush which also damages the stone work,” he said.

This issue has not yet been looked into by the Department of Public Safety, spokesperson Randy Young said.

“We haven’t received any complaints like this here,” Young said.

UNC Campus Forest Manager Tom Bythell said Grounds Services has not been able to investigate these claims.

“We really couldn’t help him out," Bythell said. "The areas that the grounds department takes care of are specifically appropriated university property, and that’s not one of them."

Bythell said litter is common in public areas.

“It's fairly typical on a college campus or anywhere where there are a large number of people that there is going to be trash,” he said.

But litter and candle wax are not the only problems Forest Theater is facing, Adams said. Bouldering, a form of rock climbing, has also become harmful to the theater.

“They do that at the theater, and the problem with that is that it chips away the grout between the rocks and so that eventually breaks them down and they’re using this powder that also dries out the grout," Adams said. "It’s a long eventual process but the more people do it the more destructive it is."

It is unclear who is causing the recent influx of trash and damage to the historic stone work.

“We have groups from time to time that use it and are usually really great about picking up after themselves,” Adams said.

Young said he can't pinpoint the cause, either.

“It could be that there is a lack of trash receptacles in the area; it could be that there was a social gathering there, and they were relaxed about disposing of their waste, their trash,” he said.

Although the litter issue has not yet been fully resolved, Adams said he still wants students to know about Forest Theatre and to take advantage of it.

“The more people use it, the more people would respect it and the more they would realize it is a wonderful treasure right on campus,” he said.

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