Glass Beach (Fort Bragg, California)

Glass Beach is a beach adjacent to MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California, named from a time when it was abundant with sea glass created from years of dumping garbage into an area of coastline near the northern part of the town. It is illegal to collect glass at this state park.

In 1906, Fort Bragg residents established an official water dump site behind the Union Lumber Company onto what is now known as "Site 1". Most water-fronted communities had water dump sites discarding glass, appliances, and even vehicles.[1] Locals referred to it as "The Dumps."[2] Fires were often lit using Molotov cocktails to reduce the size of the trash pile.[2]

When the original dump site filled up in 1943, the site was moved to what is now known as "Site 2", the active dump site from 1943 until 1949. When this beach became full in 1949, the dump was moved north to what is now known as "Glass Beach", which remained an active dump site until 1967.

The California State Water Resources Control Board and city leaders closed this area in 1967.[1][2] Various cleanup programs were undertaken through the years to correct the damage. Over the next several decades, what was biodegradable in the dump sites simply degraded and all the metal and other items were eventually removed and sold as scrap or used in art. The pounding waves broke down the glass and pottery and tumbled those pieces into the small, smooth, colored pieces that often become jewelry-quality, which cover Glass Beach and the other two glass beaches (former dump sites) in Fort Bragg.[2]

There are three Glass Beach sites in Fort Bragg where trash was dumped into the ocean between 1906 and 1967. Site Two (1943–1949) and Three (1949–1967 – "Glass Beach") are located at the end of the path that begins on the corner of Elm Street and Glass Beach Drive. These sites are accessible by foot and by a short climb down the cliffs surrounding the beach. Site One (1906–43) is .25 miles (0.40 kilometers) south of Site Two and has become accessible by foot as of January 2015 when the northern section of the new Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg opened.

In 1998, the private owner of the property began a five-year process of working with the California Coastal Conservancy and the California Integrated Waste Management Board for the cleanup and sale of the property to the state.[3] Following completion of the clean up, the California Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the 38-acre (15-hectare) property adjacent to Glass Beach, and it was incorporated into MacKerricher State Park in October 2002.[4]

All of the actual "Glass Beach", Site 3, is adjacent to MacKerricher State Park. All entities in California end at the mean high water mark (MHW), according to Article 10 of the state constitution. In Fort Bragg, the mean high water mark is 5.2 feet (1.6 meters), and all of Glass Beach, Site 3, is below that water mark. Sites 1 & 2 are located south of "Glass Beach" and do not abut the state park area, though they abut the new city park area, which also ends at the mean high water mark (MHW).

^ a b "Glass Beach". Explore. Mendocino County. 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012. ^ a b c d Kim, Susan C. (16 February 2006). "From trash to treasure". CNN Travel. CNN. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) ^ Reynolds, Christopher (2004-08-03). "The fetid underbelly of Glass Beach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-07-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link) ^ "Glass Beach". The Mendocino Land Trust. 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
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