Registration is open now for fall beach cleanups during the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 17
About 100 volunteers have signed up so far at www.coastsavers.org, according to Jon Schmidt of Washington CoastSavers.
Forty seaside hikes are available for more volunteers who want to comb the North Olympic Peninsula beaches for debris and haul it out.
Volunteers can register to clean beaches from Port Townsend to Neah Bay and down the Pacific Coast to the Kalaloch area, most of which are rated as “easy access.” Only eight are said to be challenging hikes.
The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is a global cleanup effort organized by the Ocean Conservancy each September.
Washington CoastSavers — which oversees cleanups on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and along the Pacific coast — and Puget Soundkeeper — which oversees beaches in the Seattle area — serve as local cleanup coordinators in Washington state.
During the 2015 International Coastal Cleanup, some 300 volunteers removed 6 tons of debris from the state’s coasts.
More trash was gleaned from beaches during the last beach cleanup, the Washington Coast Cleanup on April 23, when more than 1,400 volunteers removed at least 20 tons of marine debris from more than 50 beaches along the North Olympic Peninsula and down the Pacific coast to Long Beach.
“The trash isn’t as bad in September” as it was in April, said Schmidt, who lives in Sequim.
“Typically, we see debris washed in with the winter storms. In September, we don’t get a lot of new things washing up.
“It’s more local debris that we clean in September,” he added, saying it is mostly trash “from all the people using the beach during the summer.”
This year, volunteers will be rewarded in several ways:
• Olympic National Park is offering free camping in its coastal campgrounds for volunteers on the nights of Sept. 16-17.
• The Surfrider Foundation will offer a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hobuck Campground near Neah Bay on the day of the cleanup.
• The Lost Resort will offer “free famous bean soup,” and the Kalaloch Lodge will give volunteers 15 percent off at its restaurant and gift shop.
• A salmon feed and poetry read are planned in Forks. The free salmon potluck will be served to thank volunteers beginning at 4 p.m. at Tillicum Park.
“It’s a chance for volunteers to get together and talk about their day, share some songs or a poem they enjoy,” Schmidt said, adding that specific readings are being organized.
This event is offered by the Lions, Surfrider, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, North Pacific Marine Resources Committee and other partners.
For more information or to volunteer help, contact Roy at [email protected].
Trash found at ICC events will be counted and included in an annual index of global marine debris to be released in 2017.
Last year, nearly 800,000 volunteers collected over 18 million pounds of trash from shorelines around the world.
The data gathered at ICC events provides information that can inform policy solutions and identify target areas for prevention, organizers said.
“This is an opportunity to take part in a global effort to get trash off of our treasured beaches including many state parks and the Olympic National Park,” Schmidt said.
“Be part of the solution to the pollution that is marine debris.”
To register and for more information, see www.coastsavers.org.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].