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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Contact: Sarah Zablocki, 206-324-4649 ext. 30
Nearly a ton and a half of trash and debris has been hauled off the Olympic wilderness coast, thanks to members of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) who recently spent three weeks carrying loads of marine debris from remote beaches to roadways. The five-person crew removed a total of 2,450 pounds of debris from park beaches.
“Removing over a ton of debris from park beaches is a huge contribution towards protecting the wilderness coast – for wildlife and for visitors,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner. “This is the second year in a row that the park has benefited from the hard work of an SCA crew and we are very grateful.”
Volunteers who participate in the annual Olympic Coast Cleanup are advised to pack out the trash they pick up during the springtime event, but piles of debris have accumulated along the more remote beaches.
“If debris piles are left on the beaches over the winter, storm waves simply wash them back into the ocean,” noted Laitner. “Thanks to the SCA crew, the trash can be transferred to landfills for proper disposal.”
The SCA crew concentrated on removing accumulations of debris at a number of different sites along the coast. They often camped in remote areas and carried heavy loads of trash several miles to locations where it could be disposed of properly. This year’s crew members hailed from New York, Arizona, Pennsylvania, California and Illinois.
The project, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Response and Restoration was specifically targeted to remove piles of marine debris that have been collected and cached during the annual Olympic Coast Cleanup.
Olympic National Park and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary share jurisdiction of over 70 miles of shoreline on the Olympic Peninsula. For the past six years, the sanctuary and the park have helped coordinate a volunteer spring beach cleanup to reduce threats to wildlife and to preserve the wilderness character and beauty of the Olympic coast.
For 50 years, the Student Conservation Association has connected young people to the natural world by engaging students in hands-on service to the land. Each year, over 3,000 SCA volunteers and interns work more than 1.6 million hours while protecting vital habitats, safeguarding threatened wildlife, providing environmental education, constructing hiking trails and rendering other important services.