Winter’s prevailing winds and surface currents tend to push marine debris toward the Washington coast, which makes spring an important time for a coastwide cleanup.
In winter, the flotilla of debris arrives to get trapped high on our shores, on the rocks and sand, back in the beach logs and dunes. In summer, it’s the opposite – surface waters tend to move offshore and less debris arrives. Spring is an important time for people to respond, to get the plastics and other garbage off the beach and out of circulation.
You can join the effort and enjoy an outing to the shore. Volunteer for a CoastSavers beach cleanup on April 21 by registering online at www.coastsavers.org and selecting the beach of your choice.
Every April, Washington CoastSavers, its partners and hundreds of volunteers join forces to clean plastics and other debris from our shores, to reduce injury to wildlife and pollution and to remove the unnatural garbage. In recognition of this effort, Governor Jay Inslee has declared, Saturday, April 21 “Washington Coast Cleanup Day.”
Volunteers who participate in the Washington Coast Cleanup are part of something bigger than themselves. Large coordinated beach cleanups, like April’s Washington Coast Cleanup or the International Coastal Cleanup in September, are big in scale and impact. Washington Coast Cleanup is a convergence of hundreds of volunteers, covering over 300 miles of Washington’s shoreline, removing many tons of trash. “The Washington Coast Cleanup is an inspirational collaborative effort that includes many organizations, volunteers and agencies that care about our beaches and wildlife,” said State Parks Director Don Hoch.
Along the outer coast and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, volunteers contribute to the cause, find adventure, and are rewarded for their efforts. You and friends can join a gathering of volunteers at multiple BBQs, meals and snack tables provided by partners including Surfrider Foundation, Washington State Park Ranger Association, Friends of Olympic National Park, Chito Beach Resort, Lions Clubs and other organizations. On April 21, you will also find the River and Ocean Film Festival and other RainFest events in Forks, razor clam digs on the outer coast, and Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, and much more to enjoy on a visit to the coast.
In the North Beach area, CoastSavers will be doing a cleanup on the beach of Ocean Shores.
How you can help: Collect trash and marine debris from the beach and place in provided bags. Carry filled bags to the beach access for pick up. No special skills are required. Participants must be able to bend repeatedly and pick up and carry items of varying weight and size. You’ll typically see everything from plastic water bottles and chunks of styrofoam to fishing nets, tires, ropes, and other glass and metal objects.
April 21st, the low tide is around noon.
Please check in before beginning any cleanup activities. Check in for Ocean Shores will be at the end of the Chance a La Mer approach, between 8:30 a.m and 11 a.m. Volunteers will receive supplies, basic information about the cleanup, and will fill out a State Parks volunteer timesheet.
After the morning activity, there will be a community BBQ hosted at the Griffiths-Priday State Park in Copalis Beach from noon-1:30 p.m. by the Washington State Park Ranger Association, Grays Harbor Fire District No. 7, and Copalis Beach Food Bank. For more information about helping with volunteer check-in, recycling, and BBQ service, please contact a park ranger at Ocean City State Park, 360-289-3553. Any additional questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can go to the CoastSavers website at http://www.coastsavers.org/index.php/washington-coast-cleanup/chance-a-la-mer/
In the South Beach area, the CoastSavers cleanup is based at Twin Harbors State Park, with check-in at the Schafer Road beach approach parking lot between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Camping also is available at Twin Harbors or Grayland State Park.
For those who are more adventurous, many beaches in Olympic National Park are also being cleaned on April 21. The park’s wilderness coast presents unique challenges where everything has to be taken off the beach by foot. Camping in the coastal campgrounds of Olympic National Park (Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette) is free for volunteers on Friday and Saturday nights of the beach cleanup weekend. Backcountry camping fees are also waived for volunteers staying overnight on wilderness beaches of Olympic National Park.
At some locations, such as Ozette and Shi Shi, dedicated volunteers hike several miles just to reach the beach. Then, they gather the trash and haul it back to the trailhead or road. From the shore at these remote locations, you are looking out at waters of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
“We live in a unique area that offers great protections of our coastal resources, yet we still see large amounts of marine debris washing up on our shores. We depend on the efforts of dedicated volunteers to help us keep these treasured areas pristine, “said Carol Bernthal, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary superintendent.
Besides using garbage bags to haul out debris, some volunteers tie multiple buoys or floats to their framed backpacks. Other volunteers roll tires out one by one. It takes all kinds of ingenuity and lots of sweat to keep the coast clean.
Washington CoastSavers is an alliance of partners and volunteers dedicated to clearing harmful and unsightly trash from the state’s beaches.
The alliance behind the CoastSavers program includes representatives from Clallam County government, Discover Your Northwest, Grass Roots Garbage Gang, Lions Club International, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Olympic National Park, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, Surfrider Foundation, and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. Since 2007, their efforts have removed tens of tons of trash off the beach during the Washington Coast Cleanup that occurs every April on Earth Day weekend.