Outdoors Magazine

Trash Collecting

By Everywhereonce @BWandering

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California

Sea Glass. The colorful, translucent pebbles prized by beachcombers the world over is garbage, or at least it once was before the sea reformed it into something beautiful.

Long ago these precious-looking stones were just ordinary glass from ordinary bottles and jars. That was before some asshat tossed them into the ocean, of course. Once there, the glass was broken and pummeled by the constantly churning surf into rounded, milky stones.

Sea Glass

Sea glass can be found the world over, but a particularly high concentration of the stuff occurs on a small stretch of the California coast, off Elm Street in Fort Bragg. Once known by locals as “The Dumps” for their practice of using the area as a landfill, this now pristine seashore has been both renamed and repurposed.

We’re told there was a time when collectors would leave Glass Beach with buckets of the stuff, often carting off the largest and rarest of specimens. Years of such collecting has significantly changed the beach, leaving a smaller collection of the most common white, brown and green glass.

To preserve what remains, the State Park asks visitors not to remove any glass, and we agree. We really do try to live by the slogan of leaving only footprints and taking only photographs. Although we admit, in this instance, we didn’t leave the glass exactly where we found it.

Glass Beach Fort Bragg

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