California’s Glass Beach was used as a trash dump in the early 20th century. But as the decades have gone by, trash has been washed out to see and discarded bottles, tail lights, and other glass has been polished into what look like colorful sea pebbles. What was once trash now looks like treasure.
What is California’s Glass beach?
Glass Beach is located in Fort Bragg, Califnornia at the south side of MacKerricher State Park. It gets its name from the smooth, colorful pebbles on the shore.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as beautiful as it used to be. Tourists have decided to help themselves to its beauty.
According to California Beaches (cited below):
“This site was once a trash dump so broken bottles from the garbage cans of local residents have been transformed into little treasures to be found and photographed (and left behind). It is illegal to remove any glass from Glass Beach, but this hasn’t stopped people from taking what seems like a harmless amount. Over the years thousands of these pocketfuls have depleted the beach of its namesake glass. It still has a lot, but nothing like it used to.”
How the beach came to be
Trash was dumped on the beach from 1949 until it was full in 1967. Then, in 1998, the property was cleaned up and sold to the state of California.
Today’s Glass Beach is actually the third in a series of local dump sites that filled up in the area. But it’s the only one that is part of the California Parks system today.
While the beach is still beautiful, you’ll often find visitors collecting pieces to take home, despite that being illegal. The beach today won’t look quite like the photos from decades ago, but it’s still a unique and beautiful place to watch the waves roll in. California’s Glass Beach is also a reminder of the power of nature to transform whatever humans make.