Here is the extent to which non-Ocean City residents think about Ocean City in late January: “I really wish I was at the beach.”
But here is an actual reason, beyond daydreaming, for non-Ocean City residents to think about Ocean City in the winter: to ponder the question of whether people should be allowed to ride horses on the beach.
The Town Council has been wrestling with an idea to allow horseback riding during the slow winter months to help generate tourism dollars during a time when nobody is really thinking about Ocean City.
The proposed ordinance, which would permit horseback riding on Ocean City beaches between Nov. 1 and March 30 with a $50 permit, narrowly survived a 4-3 Town Council vote this week, according to The Daily Times. A second second reading is scheduled for next month.
Not surprisingly, the primary concern is poop.
Councilman Lloyd Martin, according to the paper, “doesn’t think the town could get every equestrian to be responsible for disposing of their horse’s excrement” even though a $500 fine would be imposed on any rider caught not scooping poop.
Brent Ashley, another councilman, countered with an Environmental Protection Agency report that said horse poop was not technically hazardous, which might be true, but Councilwoman Mary Knight “is more worried,” according to the paper, “about the perception people will have that horse manure is on the resort’s beaches, whether it can be harmful to health or not.”
Manure and politics — two subjects often meant for each other. What a surreal Town Council meeting this must have been.
Okay, People of Maryland, let me ask you: Is horseback riding on Ocean City beach a good idea? Or is it gross? Or is beautiful?