Trees on Loop 360 in Davenport Ranch near Austin were covered in Christmas decorations on Sunday afternoon.
According to a report by KXAN-TV, about 50 trees were covered in tinsel, ornaments, and tree skirts along the highway. The tradition of decorating the trees on Loop 360 dates back to the 90s.
“It was actually in our Advent calendar,” John Selden, a man who took his family and friends to decorate the trees on Sunday, said. “Like first day of Christmas, pull it out, ‘decorate a tree on 360.'”
By later Sunday afternoon, however, all of the decorations had been removed. A group called the Coalition of Anti-Litterers, or COAL, took down the decorations because they viewed them as litter that would affect wildlife and waterways if not removed.
According to KXAN-TV, COAL organized a group of more than two dozen volunteers through a Facebook event called Santa’s Cleanup Crew Rampage. The group encouraged volunteers to dress up in Santa costumes to set them apart from the decorators.
The group felt the Santa costumes would also attract the attention of people driving by and start a new tradition wherein Santa and his helpers help pick up litter.
Kate Ludlow, the event organizer, told KXAN-TV that the group wanted to clean up the trees to show people not to decorate them in the first place. Ludlow said that the decorations will either fall onto the ground or stay in the trees for years.
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“Just don’t do it,” Ludlow told KXAN-TV. “We’re seeing decorations, so many decorations from last year, some look like they’ve been out here for multiple years.”
The issue of decorating the trees on Loop 360 has been debated for years. The Texas Department of Transportation said in a statement that decorating the trees is not an agency sanctioned practice.
Last year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told KXAN-TV that the ornaments have not been much of a concern for wildlife.