Curiosity got the best of me so I decided to put my old truck in 4-wheel drive and check out the 16-plus miles of drivable beach to see what it looked like on the morning of Sunday, July 8 after several nights of ongoing Fourth of July celebrating.

The Grass Roots Garbage Gang and all the folks that came out to assist them are to be commended for doing a fine job of cleaning up the vast amounts of spent fireworks the morning after the big event, however the shooting of fireworks continued for at least two more nights after the clean-up.

The area I drove was between Oysterville and Bolstad Approaches and then between Seaveiw Approach and Beards Hollow. Generally speaking, within a 1/2 mile of either side of the following major approaches: Oysterville, Ocean Park, Klipsan Beach, and Cranberry approaches were dotted with numerous campfire mounds and pits along with spent fireworks of all manner lying about. Areas between these approaches appeared reasonably clean. Bolstad Approach was even worse. There was a heavily littered area along a two mile stretch of beach from Bolstad approach northward that had not been covered by the July 5 GRGG clean-up, possibly due to a lack of volunteers. The area between Seaview approach and Beards Hollow looked fairly clean. There were minor amounts of fireworks residue near some trails and four-wheel drive roads that access the beach.

I counted 308 campfire pits and mounds along the way. There were an additional eight unattended live campfires, some of which were within 100 feet of the vegetated dunes. There was a breeze from the southwest that morning pushing the smoke towards the nearby dunegrass. During the clean-up on the 5th, I dug out 15 of these sand covered campfire sites located south of the Oysterville approach only to find that seven of them had burnt cans and bottles in them. Broken glass in the sand does not allow for anyone safely walking barefooted or for kids playing about in the sand. Many of these fires also contained burnt fireworks with remaining wire and ballast plugs mixed in with the ashes.

It appears that at least half the spent fireworks have plastic components in them. Some of it is rather small in size and can be found in high quantities in some places. The winds and blowing sand are rapidly covering up the evidence. But that's not nearly enough. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all folks using the beach could just clean up after themselves.

Russ Lewis


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