Earth Day Beach Cleanup


Earth Day is April 22nd. This year, our friend Kyle suggested we get together and participate in a beach cleanup organized by CoastSavers. When we heard that the beach was on the Oympic Peninsula, we were quick to agree. The landscape on Washington’s far West coast is simply spectacular; and we hadn’t been there in a while. Also, we looked forward to meeting up with our friends Kyle, Tally, Tad, and Les.

Originally, we were planning to go to Shi Shi beach, considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Olympic beaches. After studying the camping opportunities (and noting the 8 mile hike in) we decided to go to Lake Ozette instead, and work at one of the nearby beaches.

Lake Ozette is surprisingly large – 3rd largest in Washington State. And here’s another interesting factoid: it is the home of the Ozette potato, which is one of the varieties we are growing in our garden this year.

In the morning, we hiked the amazing 3 mile boardwalk down to the beach. At the ranger station we had been issued a couple of big trash bags each. We had also come equipped with gloves, wire cutters, a knife, and a hacksaw, to deal with whatever we might find. At first glance, the beach looked very clean. But looking closely, you soon spotted a lot of marine garbage, as well as trash left by visitors to the beach. By far the most prevalent items are synthetic ropes and plastic bottles. Other things you might find: fishing floats, nets, tires, shoes – unfortunately we didn’t come across any of the much sought after japanese glass floats.

We were lucky to have fine weather, a quite uncommon thing at this time of year. Having filled our trash bags we spent some time enjoying the beach and exploring the tide pools. Finally it was time to start the hike back, this time with a heavy load of trash. We were each carrying 25 – 30 pounds, which became pretty tedious pretty quickly; even with the make-shift carrying poles we had devised. You could easily spot the beach-cleaning veterans by the carrying racks they had brought along.

But it was all the more satisfying when we finally got back to the ranger station and deposited our load of trash with a thud and a sigh of relief.

Here is a selection of pictures I took that weekend.

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