George and Jolie Will of Sequim look for litter on the beach near the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge near Sequim in 2017, as part of statewide effort to remove trash and other unwanted debris from along Washington’s coasts. The event, hosted by the Washington CoastSavers program, sees volunteers each year spread out to scour beaches along the Pacific coastline and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. File photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

George and Jolie Will of Sequim look for litter on the beach near the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge near Sequim in 2017, as part of statewide effort to remove trash and other unwanted debris from along Washington’s coasts. The event, hosted by the Washington CoastSavers program, sees volunteers each year spread out to scour beaches along the Pacific coastline and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. File photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Washington Coast Cleanup set for April 21

With winter’s prevailing winds and surface currents pushing marine debris toward the Washington coast, the Washington CoastSavers and community volunteers are gearing up for their annual Washington Coast Cleanup on Saturday, April 21.

Volunteer for a beach cleanup by registering online at www.coastsavers.org and selecting the beach of your choice.

Every April, Washington CoastSavers, its partners and volunteers join forces to clean plastics and other debris from the state’s shores, to reduce injury to wildlife and pollution and to remove the unnatural garbage.

The effort aims to help remove tons of trash over 300 miles of Washington’s shoreline. In recognition of this effort, Gov. Jay Inslee has declared April 21 Washington Coast Cleanup Day.

“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,” Carol Bernthal, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary superintendent, said. “We depend on the efforts of dedicated volunteers to help us keep these treasured areas pristine,” Carol Bernthal, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary superintendent.

The event includes multiple BBQs, meals and snack tables provided by partners including the Surfrider Foundation, Washington State Park Ranger Association, Friends of Olympic National Park, Chito Beach Resort, Lions Clubs and other organizations.

On April 21, participants will also find the River and Ocean Film Festival and other RainFest events in Forks, razor clam digs on the outer coast, the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, and more.

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, event organizers say.

“Unfortunately, our beautiful and remote coast is subject to a nearly continuous flow of marine debris and single-use plastics that are harmful to wildlife and the marine ecosystem,” park superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said. “Thanks to the help of our partners at CoastSavers and all of the wonderful volunteers each year, the natural beauty of the coast is preserved and our beaches are kept clean.”

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. 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.

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.

Learn more about Washington CoastSavers and pre-register for the Washington Coast Cleanup at www.coastsavers.org.

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