Glass Beach – Nature’s Ingenious way of Dealing with our Idiocy

Travis Gneiting News

Jenny Downing

Fact is, we live in a glass house. While we can try to hide from all of the trash and waste we create in some landfill or dump out of site – eventually we’re going to have to face the facts. Down the road just like this hermit, if we don’t take care of our fragile eco-system – we’ll be left with the world we so carelessly pollute for better or for worse.  Yet our idiocy aside, sometimes nature does have a ingenious way of dealing with our indiscretions. Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California is the unbelievable aftermath of human wastefulness and nature’s resilience. Today Glass Beach protected land, part of MacKerricher State Park. Ironic, as in the 1940’s it was a self-serve dump.

Makuahine Pa'i Ki'i

Photo: Makuahine Pa’i Ki’i

For almost 2 decades, people drove to the scenic cliff overlooks to admire the grandeur mother earth, and then threw all of their beer bottles, trash, appliances and even drove their old cars off the cliffs. After 20 years of unrestricted abuse,

Photo By Vadim Kurland

Photo By Vadim Kurland

Photo Mike Baird

the beaches became an eyesore to the once appreciative yet but now disgusted locals and tourists. The forgotten beaches were left polluted and cluttered with debris of all kinds, and were no longer any kind of a destination for admiration.  During the next 30 years of solitude, Mother Nature showed her brilliance as the beaches crashed and tumbled away 3 decades worth of careless disregard, leaving behind brilliant pebbles of polished glass. The shores slowly evolved into cascading beaching washing into the ocean, and people once again came flocking to the shores to admire nature’s majesty. At sunrise and sunset the beaches create nearly blinding colorful rainbows as the sunlight reflects off the colorful glass. The State annexed the beaches into a MacKerricher State Park in October 2002.

Photo by Makuahine Pa'i Ki'i

While nature did it’s best to compensate for human kinds unforgivable behavior, it couldn’t fully recover from the devastation. Toxic materials such as paints and oils were never recovered, and cleaning teams had to intervene to gather rusting metal debris and all kinds of dangerous items containing lead. While a definite destination – probably best to keep your shoes on, and no sand castles.