OLYMPIA - The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and its partners invite the public to participate in the International Coastal & Underwater Cleanup.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has proclaimed Sept. 20 and 21 official Operation Shore Patrol Days, and she urges citizens to participate in keeping Washington's Pacific waterways clean. The goal of Operation Shore Patrol is to focus attention on litter accumulated from water and land sources on Washington state ocean beaches. Litter poses a threat to people, fish and wildlife and creates an unsightly environment. Operation Shore Patrol is a major step in helping to rid the Washington state coastline of litter and debris.

In 1971 the Pacific Northwest 4-Wheel Drive Association started Operation Shore Patrol and has continued to coordinate and participate in the cleanup. The association also promotes community cooperation and support from Ilwaco to Moclips prior to and during the cleanup weekend. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Ecology with assistance from area chambers of commerce, the cities of Westport, Ocean Shores, Long Beach and Grays Harbor County. Other participating groups include the Telephone Pioneers, the Grass Roots Garbage Gang, VFW lodges and area merchants, schools, scouting and service clubs.

This year, the 4-Wheel Drive Association joined a newly formed coalition dedicated to ocean beach cleanup and public awareness. For more information, visit online at (www.coastsavers.org).

Tribal nations on Washington's coastline also support and participate in tribal beach area cleanup events during Operation Shore Patrol.

State Parks will waive the camping fee (hookups not included) for cleanup participants on Friday and Saturday the weekend of the cleanup event at Cape Disappointment (Long Beach area), Twin Harbors (south beach area) and Ocean City (north beach area) state parks. A limited number of standard campsites are available. Reservations for standard campsites must be made by calling the following Pacific Northwest 4-Wheel Drive Association region coordinators after 6 p.m. weekdays or on weekends through Sept. 15:

· Cape Disappointment State Park, 244 Robert Gray Drive, Ilwaco - for information and campsite reservations call Linda Jessen at 360-560-4598. Hookup campsites may be reserved at Cape Disappointment and Ocean City by calling 888-226-7688. Fees apply.

Local merchants and service groups plan some breakfast, lunch and dinner opportunities for volunteers. They also offer discounts and contribute door prizes for raffles.

To learn about additional International Ocean Conservancy Coastal Cleanup events in Washington state, e-mail (wa.coastcleanup@comcast.net) or call Joan Hauser-Crowe at 360-866-9253.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 120 parks and several recreation programs, including trails, boating safety, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The 94-year-old park system will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.

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