Frustrations are mounting over what to do with Carter's Beach, but the province still hopes it can work with the community to find a solution.
With visitation, parking, garbage and enforcement still hot button issues for local residents, representatives from Nova Scotia Environment (NSE), at a public meeting on July 25 at the West Queens Recreation Centre in Port Mouton responded to the community's concerns.
NSE said they plan on forming an advisory group with community members to help provide the department with some answers.
"We need the right people at the table to bring the full picture into it," said Peter Labor, director of the protected areas branch of NSE.
Labor also suggested trialing a "pack in-pack out" system for garbage in order to reduce the amount of waste being left behind.
But Robert Ross, a nearby resident of Carter's Beach, said the idea was "scary" knowing how much garbage there can be.
Last November, he described the worsening situation to the Region of Queens Municipality, specifically mentioning the amount of garbage that was picked up at the annual volunteer clean up in the fall, despite having a garbage can installed earlier in the summer.
"I hope the recourse is not to put it on the backs of volunteers again," said Ross.
No decisions were made on who will take care of ongoing clean up efforts, but Labor said education is needed.
Along with an advisory group, NSE plans to install interpretive panels and outhouses as well.
Carter's Beach has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, in part from an increased presence on social media.
However, it was identified as a pending nature reserve, along with nearby Spectacle Island and Jackies Island, in 2013 due to its ecological diversity and archaeological significance.
The question of how to balance conservation with public use has continued to this day, with no timeline to settle the matter.
But as those conversations have taken place, the flock of visitors has created backlogs along Carter's Beach Road with vehicles blocking driveways and creating potential safety issues for first responders.
The existing parking lot was expanded and parking has since been banned on the side of the road closest to the water, with only small vehicles allowed on the opposing side, but the RCMP have continued to issue tickets to parking violators.
Last summer, the Region of Queens Municipality put in temporary toilets after reports that human waste had been left on the beach.