Sea glass and pebbles, wet from the Pacific Ocean, adorn Glass Beach at Mackerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California.
Sea glass has always fascinated me; once jagged pieces of trash carelessly discarded, the ocean has transformed these sharp shards into smooth and colorful “stones” which wash up along the beach. This is a case of nature truly turning trash into treasure.
Glass Beach is actually a series of several beach coves and is a former dump, hence the abundance of glass. It is amazing to behold shimmery beaches thick with colored glass “pebbles,” but sadly this unique resource has been greatly diminished due to its status as Mendocino County’s most popular tourist attraction. While Glass Beach is part of Mackerricher State Park and therefore glass collecting is technically illegal (and there are signs everywhere stating as much), this law is ignored, and people collect huge bags of sea glass to take home. Several of the coves no longer contain much glass due to over collection. We spent two mornings at the cove with the most sea glass left, and were saddened to see we were the only visitors not collecting bags of shimmering treasure. It’s a beautiful spot and I don’t regret going, but I’m not sure I will return due to the frustration of watching visitors cart off that very thing which makes the area special and unique.
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