ONP ranger named Coastsaver of the Year

By Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Olympic National Park Ranger Al Voner has been named the 2013 Washington CoastSaver of the Year.

CoastSavers volunteers conduct multiple beach cleanups along the state coast lines, including two outer coastwide beach cleanups every year that draw participants from around the state, in coordination with coastal tribes and public agencies that manage the 157 miles of sandy beaches and rocky headlands that make up the coast.

Out of the 73 miles managed by the National Park Service, Voner has been stationed in the middle of it all, at the ranger station at Ozette.

He is being honored for regularly facilitating beach cleanups and his stewardship of the wilderness beaches.

'Quintessential' ranger

“Al is really the quintessential park ranger: knowledgeable, evenhanded, dedicated and seemingly tireless when it comes to protecting the resources of the park,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

“We are lucky to have him among our ranks and believe there is no one more deserving of this award.”

Creachbaum wasn't the only individual who spoke highly of Voner's work on the beach.

“Al's tireless dedication is an inspiration to us all, showing the power each of us have to make a difference in our community,” said Carol Bernthal, superintendent for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration's Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

Last September during the International Coastal Cleanup, Ozette had more than 50 volunteers participate in the event, more than any other check-in station along the coast.

'Essential' abilities

Roy Morris, a founding member of Washington CoastSavers who also volunteered at Ozette for the past several years of cleanups, added: “Voner's ability to identify needs, clarify acceptable practices and oversee the volunteer efforts is essential to CoastSavers' ability to assist the national park in removing marine debris from our beaches.”

In 2013, Washington CoastSavers removed more than 16 tons of trash from beaches from Cape Flattery to Cape Disappointment.

The next coastwide beach cleanup will be the Washington Coast Cleanup on Earth Day weekend, April 19.

Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance starting in early March at www.coastsavers.org.

Last modified: January 19. 2014 11:21PM
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