Our Glass Beaches … Where Mounds of Trash Turned to Treasure
—Posted Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 7:36 pm—
We talk about Glass Beach, singular, but there are actually three. Each operated as a trash dump for the city during a different time: Glass Beach 1 – 1906-1946, Glass Beach 2 – 1946-49, and Glass Beach 3 in the state park – 1949-1967.
Just a few blocks north of the Atrium is the sign for just plain Glass Beach (actually Glass Beach 3), which is now part of MacKerricher State Park. A few years ago, all the old cars, batteries and other items were removed. Only beautiful sea glass and pristine tide pools were left behind.
Guests often ask if there is any glass left? There is … plenty. However, because so many people visit Glass Beach 3 and remove buckets of glass, it is no longer ankle-deep like it once was.
So, first off we want to encourage you to hunt glass until your heart’s desire, but leave it behind for others to find. Actually, because it is considered a “cultural resource” by State Parks, it is against park regulations to remove it.
Just south, a couple of coves over from the State Park is Glass Beach 2. Because is hasn’t been plundered and fewer people visit (mostly accessible during low tides or by climbing down a steep cliff), your can literally swim in sea glass.
What To Do: Search for rare ruby reds (from pre-1967 auto trail lights) or sapphire gems from apothecary bottles. Snap a photo, but leave the glass behind for others to discover. Instead, go see all the great glass treasures assembled by Capt. Cass Forington’s Sea Glass Museum, on Highway 1, about a mile south of the Fort Bragg City Limits. Capt. Cass has created wonderful displays of sea glass and sells jewelry made mostly from discoveries he made at Glass Beach 1, which is accessible by kayak.
The Guest House Museum in downtown Fort Bragg is also working on a sea glass exhibit to capture this piece of Fort Bragg heritage.