The Glass Beach in California
In MacKerricher State Park, near the city of Fort Bragg in northern California, you will find a beach littered with glass. Over decades of crashing waves the glass has been smoothed and rounded, transforming the shoreline into a colourful palette of pebble-like glass and sand.
From 1906-1967 (the start date is up for debate), seaside towns were known to use the coastline as dumps, Fort Bragg was no different. After the devastation of the San Francisco earthquake the streets were filled with rubble and trash was dumped on the coast for the ocean to wash away. This of course, included plenty of glass.
It wasn’t until 1967 when city leaders and the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and sought to relocate the dump away from the ocean and clean up the shoreline. After the clean-up and more decades of crashing ocean waves; only smoothed and rounded glass mostly remained.
Glass Beach was purchased by California State Parks in October 2002. The Coastal Conservancy, with the City of Fort Bragg and the Mendocino Land Trust worked for over four years to assemble funding for the purchase of the 38-acre property. The Land Trust managed waste removal and clean-up, and completed botanical, archaeological and erosion control work that was required prior to purchase by State Parks. Since the Pudding Creek Trestle was completed in 2007, visitors may now walk from MacKerricher State Park to the headlands at Glass Beach connecting this highly visited “city” park to several miles of beach trails.
As word of this unique beach spread, more and more visitors descended onto Glass Beach. Drawn to the beautifully smoothed and rounded glass, visitors began pocketing the glass with each visit. This has greatly diminished the amount of glass on the beach. And since it is now State Park property it is a misdemeanor to remove any artifacts. While there is still glass to be found the area has been greatly depleted.
In addition to searching for glass, the beach has an interesting array of tide pools to explore. Crabs, mollusks, and many aquatic plants make their homes in these ever-changing environments.
– FortBragg.com: Glass Beach – From Trash To Treasure
– Visit Mendocino: Glass Beach
– The Mendocino Land Trust: Glass Beach
– CNN: From trash to treasure
– Wikipedia: Glass Beach (Fort Bragg, California)
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