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Unbelievable but true, a dump being reproduced into a landmark called the Glass Beach. The name of the beach speaks for itself as its shores are entirely covered with colourful translucent glass. Undoubtedly, it is a miracle of nature how something so worthless has been turned into something so extraordinary. The evolution took decades and then resulted in to a site worth viewing.
The Glass beach is a part of Mackerricher State Park, situated near Fort Bragg, California. It is located 150 miles outside San Francisco. It is also believed that at some point in the past it belonged to Mendocino Indian Reservation. Years back in the early 20th Century the area was under the ownership of a saw mill named as, “Union Lumber Company”.
The local residents used to throw their garbage near the cliff, as they found dumping to be much easier task than the usual taking out and cleaning process of the trash. The garbage disposal included home appliances, wasted glass products and vehicles. At that time the entire cliff was covered with heaps of garbage and thus the beach acquired its name as the, “The Dumps”. It is said that the dumps reached to the height of 30 feet and sometimes the piles of trash were reduced by burning.
Then in 1967 the issue came under consideration of the Water Resources Control Board of California State and city leaders, who took initiatives to clean up the mess. The area was sealed and cleaning programs were introduced to cover the damage. However, it wasn’t an easy job to remove the heaps of debris; thanks to Mother Nature for undertaking half of the work. The large pieces of garbage were extracted while the left over pieces of glass were broken, smoothened and rounded by the pounding and smashing waves. These smoothened glass particles then settled along the sea shore in a number of millions, which today adds glory to the magnificent beach.
The name thus changed from, “The Dump” to what we currently know as, “The Glass Beach”. It was determined by the private property owner in 1998 that the Glass Beach should be given to the public sector, so with the help of California Coastal Conservancy and California Integrated Waste Management Board a 5 year cleanup process took place and finally the property was sold to the state. Later in October, year 2002, it was made a part of MacKerricher State Park, after being bought by the California Department of Park and Recreation, including the 20 acres area surrounding the beach. In total 38 acres area was bought.
There isn’t a color of glass that cannot be seen on this beach; there are shades from light to deep green, some pieces are in beautiful shades of blue, and then there are also pieces of glass available in shades of white, red and brown. All of these colorful translucent pebbles merge together to give a spectacular view.
This beach is not one of its’ kind, in fact, there are three other beaches similar to it. One in California by the name of Benicia, another one is the Bay of Hanapepe in Hawaii and the third one is known to be at Guantanamo Bay. All of these beaches are a result of human negligence, whereas the nature has proven to be the savior of the environment and has helped resolve this disaster created by humans.
The Glass Beach has been successful to win fame within a period of few years as it is attracting a large number of tourists every year. Way back in time, people wanted to dump their glass products on this shore, now they try to get one of these pieces so that they may take them home as a souvenir. Its’ ironic but true that once it became illegal to dispose the glass on the shore and now removing it is a crime. However, there is an Annual Glass Festival that takes place every year on Memorial Day weekend known as the, “Fort Bragg Sea Glass Festival”.
There are several plants’ species found near the Glass Beach, one such specie is Menzies’ Wallflower which has been listed as endangered, on federal levels in California.
Besides the view of The Glass Beach, the sounds produced by the glass pebbles while being washed away by the gentle waves adds to the serenity of the environment. It is an ideal spot for those who want to escape from the city noise and just want to kick back and relax. Surely, Glass Beach is a blessing of nature and contains a message within itself that if we try to protect our nature, even “The Dumps” can be turned into something beautiful like, “The Glass Beach”.