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Posts Tagged ‘Fort Bragg California beach’

Glass Beach: Where Trash Turns into Treasure

Posted by alainaflute on September 27, 2012

To scoop or not to scoop? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to leave finds upon the water-lapped shores…or to just pick them up and bring them home. Beachcombing regulations. They exist. Know before you go.

Today’s Glass Beach

Although it is always important to leave living creatures alone on the beach, we’re not positive all regulations about picking up beach debris are real or enforced. Glass? Remnants of a dumpsite? That’s a little trickier. We at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches will always recommend that beach-goers follow the rules/regulations/laws of any given beach. On the other hand, it is hard to support hearsay. So, here’s some hearsay for you: You’re not supposed to pick up what you find on Glass Beach.

The “sand” of Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California

Glass Beach (near Fort Bragg, California) has some lovely, man-made sand. It didn’t used to be quite so lovely. Residents used to shove their trash over the cliffs onto the beach below. In 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized the error of this arrangement and plans were begun for a new dump site away from the ocean. Over the years, the waves tossed the trash into treasure: beach glass, namely. The beach is peppered with tiny pebbles, smoothed glass, polished china bits, and even the odd seashell. It’s rather tempting to scoop up a salt shaker amount of “sand.”

The old days at Glass Beach. (Note the rusted vehicle frame jutting out from the bluff.)

Glass Beach before the clean-up.

Glass Beach before the cleanup.

Much of what is known as Glass Beach is now part of MacKerricher State Park, and according to, collecting is not allowed within the state park, but it is perfectly OK to collect outside of the state park boundaries.

Just a note:  The only regulation we could find against beachcombing that has been sited online is California Code of Regulations, Section 4308Archaeological Features, “No person shall remove, injure, disfigure, deface, or destroy any object of archaeological, or historical interest or value.” We found nothing on the official MacKerricher State Park website (or in the park brochure) that verifies this information. Are the pummeled fragments of glass on the beach an “object of archaeological or historical interest or value”?

Either way, Glass Beach is worth the visit!

You’ll find Glass Beach on California’s beautiful Mendocino Coast off of  Highway 1. In northern Fort Bragg, go west on Elm Street (at the Denny’s) to Old Haul Road. You’ll see an area for parking at the curve of West Elm and Old Haul. It’s a just short walk down a worn path to the beach.

*Tag team post by Alaina and Jody*

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Northern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Beach Glass: Real or Fake?

Posted by Greg on July 19, 2011

We’ve been lucky enough to visit Glass Beach in Ft. Bragg, California many times. The sand glistens in the morning sun with bits of sea glass and porcelain. What once was trash has been tumbled and made lovely by the rugged coastline and ocean tides. This place, once used for the disposal of unwanted items, is now a treasure beach.

But you know what they say: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

What is it that makes sea glass (aka: beach glass) special to us beachcombers? Actually, it is possible to put your broken glass and broken dishes through a rock tumbler and come up with a similar effect. We have a family member who does just that!

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California (©Jody Diehl)

It really isn’t easy to tell the difference between man-made and ocean-made tumbled glass. With the naked eye, it’s nearly impossible. However, we did find this article on the subject and wanted to share this interesting read with you.

From the article by North Beach Treasures & Peter Messerschmidt:

Within the growing sea glass collector and jeweler community, there is much controversy over– and discussion of– the growing issue and problem surrounding so-called “man made” sea glass.

“The situation: There are companies (and individuals) that will manufacture “sea glass” by putting shards of broken glass into industrial rock tumblers; basically huge versions of what rock hounds use to polish rocks. The result is something that looks like sea glass, but really isn’t… since it has never been in the sea, to begin with. Until recently– because sea glass has only enjoyed such a surge of popularity during the past 5-odd years– this type of “craft glass” was never really seen as much of an issue to worry about.”

Check out the whole story: “The Issue of Natural vs Fake (“Man Made”) Sea Glass

Have a great day at the beach!

(Family Post)

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Monday Miscellaneous, Northern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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