Make it a beach-friendly Fourth of July

Waikiki Beach by Rhonda Clements

Waikiki Beach at Cape Disappointment State Park. Photo by Rhonda Clements.

Thanks to James Roubal for contributing this week’s blog. James has served as the program coordinator for Washington CoastSavers and the Olympic Coast chapter of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation since 2018. He coordinates the largest single-day beach cleanups in the state, the Washington Coast Cleanup, the 5th of July Cleanup and Washington State’s participation in Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

June 29 2020

Fourth of July is a time for loved ones and friends to get together and celebrate the birth of our country. Barbeques, summer music and fireworks light up the night skies on this national holiday.

The ocean is Earth’s life support

Whether you live near water or inland, the ocean is essential to all life on earth.

The sea provides us with food, recreational opportunities and a place to make new memories.

As the Fourth falls on Saturday this year and folks from all over the Pacific Northwest rush to Washington’s coastlines with their families, it is imperative that we look out not only for marine life, but also for one another.

Marine debris poses a serious threat to Washington’s Coast

Beach trash for July 4

Various forms of plastic water bottles and plastic foam containers pollute Washington’s outer coast. Photo by volunteer Rachel Covault.

Washington CoastSavers is an alliance of volunteers, nonprofits, civic organizations and government agencies dedicated to keeping Washington’s beaches clean. We do this through coordinated beach cleanups, education and prevention efforts.

An invaluable partnership exists between Washington State Parks and CoastSavers.

Since 2000, the two organizations have teamed up to remove more than 980,000 pounds of debris from Washington’s beaches, thanks to the dedication of 20,000-plus volunteers.

Annual and targeted beach cleanups are essential in reducing the environmental threat of marine debris on our shorelines.

Learn More
Lourdes Collins and son from France cleanup crew Pt Greenville

CoastSavers volunteer Lourdes Collins and her son, who lives in France, joined other family members for the 2018 Washington Coast Cleanup at Port Greenville. Photo courtesy of Lourdes Collins.

Please follow these best practices to keep your children, beaches, pets, wildlife — and yourself — safe this Fourth of July and beyond:

  • Pack out what you pack in. Pay extra attention to the tiny bits of plastic and casings that are dangerous to marine life and birds.
  • Be safe with your personal fireworks. Most professional fireworks shows have been canceled this year. Fireworks bought outside state borders or on tribal land may be illegal, so it is best to shop locally. Meanwhile, please extinguish all personal fireworks before placing them in the trash or your vehicle.
  • If you plan to build a beach bonfire, please be fire safe and know the following:
    • Make sure there are no burn bans where you plan to have your fire.
    • Bonfires should be at least 150 feet from the dunes and vegetation.
    • Bonfires should be less than 4 feet in diameter or height.
    • Dig a deep pit and place your firewood in it to help block the wind.
    • Do not build your pit below the high tide line.
    • Bring plenty of small twigs, paper or local wood to help start your fire.
    • Make sure your fire is extinguished (cold to the touch) before you leave.
  • Respect neighborhoods and private property.
  • Be safe and get off the beach at a reasonable time — around 11 p.m. to avoid extreme high tides.
  • Do not park your car too low on the beach. On the night of the Fourth, a 10-foot high tide is expected just after midnight.
  • Please use restroom facilities to poop and pee, not dunes.
  • Do not camp on the beach —  it’s illegal. Follow all Washington State Parks camping rules and regulations
  • Be sure to read up on driving on the beach before you visit. Information about driving and other beach rules can be found on State Parks Seashore Conservation Area web page.
  • Have a wonderful Fourth of July!
Cleanup crew carrying rope
Beach Cleanup Twin Harbors Miles Wenzel and daughter for July 4
Volunteer crew for July 4

Left: Washington State Parks Ranger Miles Wenzel cleans Twin Harbors State Park with his daughter. Photo courtesty of Miles Wenzel. Right: Volunteers pick up trash at Cape Disappointment State Park during the 2018 Washington Coast Cleanup. Photo credit: Kim Sharpe Jones.

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