Olympic National Park sites to host International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday

It’s time for some serious fall cleaning in the late summer along our state’s coastlines.

The International Coastal Cleanup, an event that Ocean Conservancy began in 1986, will take place on Saturday.

It has grown into an international cleanup event, and it sees volunteers from states and territories throughout the United States and more than 150 countries come together to participate in a cleanup event near them.

At Olympic National Park, volunteers will take to the beaches and remove tons of trash. The park will target Ruby Beach, Third Beach and the Ozette beaches this year.

“Olympic National Park protects over 70 miles of the most primitive, natural coastline in the lower 48 states,” Olympic National Park superintendent Sula Jacobs said.

“Unfortunately, the entire coastline is victim to a nearly continuous flow of marine debris and single-use plastics that wash ashore from the Pacific Ocean. These coastal cleanups are immensely important in keeping our beaches as trash-free and clean as possible. We cannot express how thankful we are of these incredible volunteers that take the time and human power to keep the beaches clean.”

Many of these areas are within the Daniel J. Evans Wilderness, which can present some challenges to volunteers, event organizers note.

Motor vehicles are prohibited at all park beaches, so volunteers must be prepared to hike to the beach, walk along the beach and collect trash, and carry that litter and debris back to the parking area.

In some instances, organizers say, these treks could entail 3 or more miles.

Besides using garbage bags to clear debris, some volunteers tie multiple buoys or floats to their framed backpacks while others may roll out automobile tires one by one.

“It takes all kinds of ingenuity and lots of sweat to keep the coast clean,” said Heather Stephens, Olympic National Park’s volunteer coordinator.

Camping will be available to volunteers free of charge for one night, either on Friday or Saturday.

Camping will be first-come, first-served, and participants will receive information about how to request camping after they register for the event.

If volunteers elect to clean up Ozette beaches, they may receive a backcountry permit free of charge for Saturday.

Walk-up registration is possible but not guaranteed.

Registration tables will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Third Beach and Ruby Beach parking areas.

The registration table at the Ozette trailhead will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Third Beach registration can be found at tinyurl.com/593t4tej.

Ruby Beach registration is at tinyurl.com/4e6wez6w.

Ozette beaches registration is at tinyurl.com/553k2efm.

For more about the cleanup efforts in Olympic National Park, email olym_volunteer@nps.gov or visit coastsavers.org.

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