Disclaimer: this post should not inspire anyone to litter on the beach, despite what you will read about below of the beautiful "spoils" of what was once a trash dump!
Yes, it's true: what is now strikingly vibrant Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California was once a refuse dumping site. Glass Beach is literally the result of the junk that was disposed of there. Hard to believe that something so lovely came from something so icky (and dangerous to the environment). So, here's the story: back in the early 1900s, it was very common to find dumping sites on waterfront property where residents could discard of various types of waste such as appliances, glass, ceramics, and even cars. Fort Bragg had several of these so-called "active dumping sites" where people were PERMITTED to throw their trash into the shallow waters at the beach. Quite horrifying, isn't it? In 1967, the California State Water Resources Control Board finally put a stop to this and city leaders closed the area. Cleaning crews came in and worked on cleaning up the overwhelming trash piles over the years following. Metal and various scraps were removed from the dumping sites until what remained was only glass and ceramic. Pounding waves eventually smoothed down the glass and pottery into what is now the expanse of colorful pieces that make up Glass Beach.
There are actually three Glass Beach sites in Fort Bragg which are all accessible by foot. Glass Beach is visited annually by tens of thousands of tourists, many of whom take pieces of glass with them despite being discouraged from doing so. There is concern that the unusual beauty of Glass Beach will be diminished forever if people continue to take glass each time they visit. The movement of the waves, which further breaks down the glass each year, is also a threat to the maintenance of Glass Beach. At Water Gallery, we think you can't find a more beautiful combination than colorful glass and the natural beauty of a beach! We look forward to visiting this remarkable place one day and hope it still exists for many years to come.