By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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During this year's annual Earth Day Washington Coast Cleanup, 26 beaches are expected to be cleaned of tons of everyday trash and perhaps some debris from the 2011 Japan tsunami, organizers said.
The cleanup happens every April on Earth Day. For the years 2000-2012, a total of 10,729 volunteers collected about 320 tons of marine trash.
Registrations at www.coastsavers.org allow volunteer beach-cleaners to choose specific beaches and provide detailed information about each beach and its location.
Washington CoastSavers, which organizes the cleanup, rated 18 of the beaches in West Clallam and Jefferson counties as offering “easy access” for families and small children.
Eight are listed as “challenging.” Volunteers can be asked to make 2-mile hikes to the beach and carry bags full of debris back out of the wilderness areas.
Those beaches include Shi Shi Beach, Point of Arches, Ozette River South, Sand Point North, Sand Point South, Hole in the Wall and Mosquito Beach South — all of which were still accepting reservations as of Wednesday — as well as Cape Alava, which already was fully staffed.
Volunteers can check in between 7:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. High tide is at 8:30 a.m. and low tide at 3 p.m., so more beach areas are exposed and accessible in late morning and early afternoon.
Check-in locations include Hobuck Beach campground — where the Olympic Peninsula chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will host the beach cleanup — Ozette Ranger Station, Forks Transit Center, Quillayute Fire Hall at the intersection of Mora and LaPush roads, Hoh Reservation and the Kalaloch campground.
Dogs are not allowed on beaches within the Olympic National Park boundaries.
Camping will be free at three Olympic National Park campgrounds — Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette — for registered cleanup volunteers tonight and Saturday night, and free picnic lunches will be held at Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds from noon to 3 p.m.
Those who wish to pick up free camping permits should bring a copy of their volunteer registration to the Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, or the Forks Transit Center, 551 S. Forks Ave.
Backcountry backpack permits also will be issued free to volunteers.
While Hobuck Beach is listed as one of the easily accessed beaches, Surfrider volunteers will attempt to reach more distant beaches, requiring greater physical effort, said Darryl Wood, chairman of the Surfrider chapter.
Wood said he has heard from others that the amount of beach trash is smaller than usual this year.
“This has been one of the cleanest winters ever,” he said. “There isn't even as much as the regular trash from before the tsunami.”
Surfriders will provide a coffee-and-doughnut breakfast and a barbecue lunch.
Volunteers at that location will receive an annual Makah Reservation beach pass — a $15 value, Wood said.
A team of about 20 volunteers from the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Coast Guard Station Neah Bay and the Ikkatsu Expedition will rappel into the isolated cove on Portage Head, 1 mile south of Hobuck Beach.
There, three kayakers from the Ikkatsu Expedition found the densest accumulation of plastic debris of their summer 2012 journey along the coast of Washington.
“It was really bad in July,” said Ken Campbell, who was part of the small group of ocean kayakers who surveyed the coast from Neah Bay to Ruby Beach near LaPush and around Destruction Island.
A return to Portage Head in November showed a lower concentration of debris, some of which Campbell said he believed to have been on the beach for years.
Campbell said he thought it had been pulled off the beach by winter storm waves.
“It was still bad,” he said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.