Sunday, September 20, 2009


I really didn't fall in but had to keep reminding myself where I was which was on a beautiful stretch of beach at Mad River. Others who had been there were enjoying the beach by the warmth of a bonfire. Many of the bonfires were built from pallets. Pallets have nails...LOTS of nails.
Along with other members of the Surfrider Foundation - Humboldt County Chapter, I spent my bit of the annual Coastal Cleanup with a rake, a magnet and a bucket. There were plenty of others out and about, bags in hand, picking up after those who don't. Like them, we collected plenty of cigarette butts and beverage containers but our focus was in and around the fire pits. From one fire to the next we'd carry our tools then plop down to rake out the coals, drag the magnet through, clear off the magnet and do it again. And again. And again. Five buckets of nails were removed and we didn't make a dent. Personally, I consider this a bit of a penance since I know our girls have been involved in many a beach bonfire fueled by pallets and, truthfully, until a Ranger brought it to their attention, I never even thought about it. After that, we sent them with proper wood to start the fire. Mad River is a party beach, fueled by awesome sunsets and a "ya gotta know where you're going" location. Ironically, partiers enjoy the ambiance without even thinking of what they were leaving behind. We all knew we had been guilty of the same in our youth but we're hoping the kids out there now will be more aware of the environment. As someone who has stepped on my share of nails and has 28 stitches in one foot, courtesy of a beer bottle that cut through to my tendon, I really hate to think of the children running on these beaches , their tender little feet encountering sharp shards of beach trash. So, here's hoping everyone will reconsider using pallets as beach fire fuel. Pack your trash and mark your calender to join us next September on the third Saturday for another Coastal Cleanup either by yourself or with a group. Remember where you live. Listen to your Mother.


Jennifer Savage said...

Thank you for your help and for your great report. I will link to the Surfrider blog tomorrow.

Carson Park Ranger said...

Ouch, sorry about the broken bottle!
I've never left glass on the beach, but I've contributed to a few pallets being burned, so thanks for the information, and thanks for cleaning up.

Indie said...

Thank you for your hard work. I never thought about pallets leaving behind THREE BUCKETS of nails. That's a lot!

In my beach bonfire days, in Santa Cruz, we used driftwood.