It's almost time for the annual hordes of people located near and far to flood out onto our beach and celebrate the Fourth of July once again. It's a patriotic salute to our nation. Around here it's a celebration that actually lasts for several days largely because of a ongoing love affair with fireworks which is just plain difficult to overcome by many. Fireworks bursting in the nighttime skies over the beach from Seaview to Surfside and numerous campfires ablaze along the beach are quite a spectacle to see. Nothing wrong with that if you have the decency of cleaning up your spent fireworks and litter strewn about the sand afterwards.

One particularly disturbing trait by those who use campfires involves the actions of many who think burning spent fireworks, glass bottles and cans is being a responsible camper when in actuality it is just plain lazy and uncaring about our beach and those who use it. Last year I drove the beach from the Oysterville approach to Beards Hollow afterwards just to see how many campfires were still burning the following morning and how many had melted glass and unburned litter in them. There were lots of them. What a big mess it was and some fires were still hot and even located too close to the dune grass. Spent fireworks consisting of mostly plastic parts were strewn about from one end to the other end of the coastline - miles of it. You could still find plastic fireworks remnants all way up to Leadbetter Point this past winter. This is another example of just doing our part to contribute some plastic into the ocean. It goes without saying that some fires were properly extinguished and had no litter in them, nor the sand nearby. Those folks are to be commended.

Melted glass seems to break up into shards and become little buried treasures in the sand as sharp as razorblades. You just about have to wear your shoes out there if you want to be safe. Walking barefoot in the sand is desirable natural pleasure to many visitors but sadly could be hazardous to your tender feet. Going home after your weekend at the coast with a stitched up deep gash on the bottom of your foot and all wrapped in bandages is not a pleasant memory compliments from the beach.

So let's not burn all those bottles, plastics and other rubbish in your campfire, please just bag it up and place it in one of the big dumpsters to be located at the major approaches for your Fourth of July beach generated trash. If you just leave your bagged up trash (full bags are easier to gather than picking up the pieces) above the high-tide line on the night of the fourth it would be considered very helpful since there will be a beach clean-up the following morning by the Grass Roots Garbage Gang, (GRGG). These dumpsters are being provided by the GRGG who will conduct one of their big annual beach cleanups on the morning of July 5.

If you are interested in helping out, just head out to one of the major approaches to sign up with a clean-up coordinator around 9:30 a.m., and you be provided with trash bags to gather trash. The GRGG will have a free soup feed beginning at 11:30 a.m. GRGG is also in need of four- wheel drive truck drivers who will pick up and haul collected trash bags from the beach to the dumpsters located at the approaches. Vehicles not having four-wheel drive are not recommended on the beach as the sand has recently been soft and deep at some of the approaches.

Russ Lewis

Ocean Park

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