Eight thousand pounds: Piece by piece, it got picked up from beaches across the North Olympic Peninsula in September, making the coast cleaner.
This Saturday, another Washington CoastSavers Cleanup will bring people out to the water, albeit to fewer beaches than usual.
While about 16 Peninsula beaches are part of the organized April cleanup, traditionally set on the Saturday nearest Earth Day, another 12 sites are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said James Roubal, Washington CoastSavers coordinator.
Beaches within the Olympic National Park and Makah and Quileute reservation boundaries are closed, Roubal said, to prevent too many people from traveling to them from more populous cities.
A map showing which beaches are closed and which are open can be found at Coastsavers.org; scroll down to Washington Coast Cleanup 2021.
Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for the beach nearest them — and get directions to the check-in point — by using the links provided.
On Saturday, site coordinators will be on hand to provide trash collection supplies and information, while cleanup times will vary slightly depending on the tides.
Low tide will be in the morning on the outer coast and later on the Strait of Juan de Fuca beaches, Roubal said.
Wherever volunteers choose to work, they’re asked to follow Washington state’s COVID guidelines: Wear a face mask, stay 6 feet from others outside immediate households and practice hand hygiene.
“The most common items found on Olympic Coast are plastic beverage bottles,” Roubal noted.
“Our volunteers also find household trash like articles of clothing, lost fishing gear, tires, Styrofoam, aquaculture yellow ropes, microplastics, light bulbs, fireworks.”
The beaches open for cleanup in Clallam County include Ediz Hook in Port Angeles and the Lyre Conservation Area and Freshwater Bay near Joyce; heading farther out on the West End, Shipwreck Point, Murdock Beach, East and West Twin Rivers, Hoko River, Sekiu River, Clallam Bay and Bullman Beach are also cleanup spots.
The Dungeness Spit north of Sequim has already attracted some 40 volunteers, Roubal said, so that beach is full for Saturday’s cleanup.
In East Jefferson County, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler and Fort Townsend state parks, Chetzemoka Park and North Beach in Port Townsend are part of the event.
All volunteers interested in cleaning those beaches should check in at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center facing the beach at Fort Worden. Site workers will be there with supplies from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Shine Tidelands State Park just north of the Hood Canal Bridge also has a cleanup planned; volunteers can register and find information at Coastsavers.org.
The sites closed for this spring’s cleanup include La Push’s Second Beach, Third Beach and Rialto Beach, Neah Bay’s Tsoo Yess Beach, Pillar Point, Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches, Ruby Beach, Hobuck Beach, Kalaloch Campground Beach, Cape Alava and Deep Creek.
The CoastSavers website is also a place to make donations to the nonprofit organization, which plans two more cleanups this year: on July 5 and, working with the Ocean Conservancy, on Sept. 18. Washington CoastSavers welcomes educators and community activists’ help in designing its future programs, and can be reached via [email protected].
This Saturday, Roubal added, he needs one more site coordinator at Dungeness Spit; interested volunteers can reach him at that email address.
Volunteer numbers were down at last September’s cleanup, Roubal said: About 500 came out to clean Washington’s coast.
“We usually see 750 to 1,000,” he said, adding he’s hopeful about this weekend’s event, with its forecast for sunshine.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]