Keith Clark

Keith Clark says illegal campers leave a mess behind, including garbage and dirty underwear. (CBC)

People who surf at Lawrencetown Beach say a wooded area on the beach is being ruined because of illegal camping, which has been going on for years.

Ash-filled fire pits, broken glass, trees stripped off their branches and clothes strewn around have become a common sight at the spot according to Keith Clark, who runs the Happy Dudes Surf Emporium.

"They leave a mess, they leave garbage, they leave dirty underwear hanging off trees," he said.

For those in the surfing community, things have reached a breaking point.

"I think it's just sort of reached that point where the people who are camping there, there's a lot more of them," said Iaian Archibald, a spokesperson for the Surfing Association of Nova Scotia.

"They're being more destructive to the wooded area up there on the bluff, which if you're taking trees and what have you off the bluff, it's going to erode quicker."

Iaian Archibald

Iaian Archibald says he believes there are more people illegally camping at Lawrencetown Beach. (CBC)

The bluff is a key part of what creates the break that gives Lawrencetown its renowned big waves. Surfers are worried if the trees die, the coast will erode even faster.

The Department of Natural Resources said it is aware of the problem and routinely patrols the area, kicking out illegal campers and handing out fines.