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Fort Bragg is a little town on the coast with a population of about 7000 people. I wonder, how many people haven’t heard of Fort Bragg but have heard of Glass Beach?
Glass Beach is actually part of MacKerricher State Park. It is open to the public with free admission (and, I believe, free parking). It is covered in sea glass. So covered, that it’s to the point where you really don’t see much sand, just a bunch of glass “pebbles” everywhere. It has an interesting origin story.
Here’s an excerpt about Glass Beach from mendocino.com:
“THE GREAT QUAKE of 1906 that devastated San Francisco, also rocked Northern California, instantly reducing most of downtown Fort Bragg’s buildings to rubble. Many buildings were damaged, the devastation was wide-spread and overwhelming.
Before the 1906 Quake, people disposed of their trash on their property, by burning and reusing. As the townspeople determined they would rebuild, they realized there was too much debris to burn, so they chose to clear the huge amount of debris by dumping it in the ocean, thinking it would wash away. Much to their surprise, the debris did not wash out of the cove, creating an ocean dump.
From the ashes of that devastating quake, its aftermath, and dumping until the mid 1960’s, these truly amazing glass covered coves have converted trash to treasure.
Thankfully, in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board created a new dump away from the ocean. Now, many years later, Mother Nature has cleansed and reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding waves and tidal action have crushed, rounded and polished tons of glass and piled it onto the beach. You’ll find the occasional reminder of its earlier life, but for the most part what you’ll see is millions of pieces of sea glass sparkling in the sun.”
So…what I got from that story is that it only took 61 years for Fort Bragg to realize they shouldn’t dump their trash in the ocean, because it was coming back to haunt them…lol.
It is interesting and unique to look at though. The main beach itself is very small. There are multiple coves with tide pools. You can reach them if you are nimble enough to do a little climbing. There are also some sea caves accessed by kayak, and 2 more beaches that are part of MacKerricher. We also went along the level, paved walking paths on our bikes. One is about a mile long and the other, much shorter. There is also a path that goes north along the street. We didn’t follow that one as it was getting pretty dark.
We read comments from people that the beach isn’t as spectacular as it used to be, because people are taking the glass off the beach. But are they stealing, or just picking up litter? ; P