California Coastal Cleanup Day

Radial Turtle

Please join us on Saturday, September 21, 2019
Time: 11 am to 2 pm (tentative)
Location: Drakes Beach (Directions)
Meet in front of the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center

Point Reyes National Seashore, in conjunction with the California Coastal Commission and Point Reyes National Seashore Association, will be sponsoring a Beach cleanup at Drakes Beach on Saturday, September 21, 2019. The cleanup will take place from 11 am to 2 pm. This is a family friendly event. Participants are encouraged to bring sunscreen, lunch and/or snacks, and their own water bottles. The PRNSA Bookstore at Drakes Beach sells merchandise and some pre-packaged food and drinks.

California Coastal Cleanup Day is an annual event which occurs on the third Saturday of September. California Coastal Cleanup Day is the premier volunteer event focused on the marine environment in the country. On this day, over 50,000 volunteers turn out to over 700 cleanup sites statewide to conduct what has been hailed by the Guinness Book of World Records as "the largest garbage collection" (1993). Since the program started in 1985, close to 1 million Californians have removed almost 20 million pounds of debris from our state's shorelines and coast. In 2016, nearly 60,000 volunteers removed more than 710,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California's beaches, lakes, and waterways. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by The Ocean Conservancy and taking place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events of the year.

Point Reyes National Seashore thanks the 73 volunteers who helped collect approximately 635 pounds of garbage and marine debris from Drakes Beach on September 15, 2018, eight pounds of which were sorted for recycling. The most interesting pieces of trash gathered were radar equipment from a boat, a tractor tire, and a one-ounce plastic to-go condiment container still filled with ketchup! The most common pieces of trash were broken pieces of plastic, cigarette butts.

This is an annual effort in California, when citizens come out to help collect data and clean up our beaches. Contact Fiona O'kelly by email for more details. [If you plan on bringing a school class, a Scout Troop, or other group of 10 or more people, please contact Fiona O'Kelly at least 2 weeks in advance.] Or visit the California Coastal Commission's California Coastal Cleanup Day page for information about other locations.

Beach Clean-up Volunteers
Beach Clean Up Volunteers.

Safety is our first priority for any beach cleanup. Even the cleanest-looking beach can hide dangers under the sand. Nails, broken glass, hypodermic needles…even an unexploded grenade have been found during Coastal Cleanup Days. Gloves are required for the Coastal Cleanup and will not be provided. Anyone planning on eating snacks during or shortly after the cleanup should bring antibiotic hand cleaner. Everybody that joins a beach cleanup is required to sign the California Coastal Commission's waiver form. [Available for download in English (71 KB PDF) and Spanish (72 KB PDF)]. Members of school groups, scout troops, and any person under the age of 18 will need a signature from a parent or guardian to participate in the cleanup. Forms are also available at cleanup sites on Coastal Cleanup Day.

Coastal Cleanup Day is the highlight of the California Coastal Commission's year-round Adopt-A-Beach program and usually takes place every year on the third Saturday of September. Coming at the end of the summer beach season and right near the start of the school year, Coastal Cleanup Day is a great way for families, students, service groups, and neighbors to join together, take care of our fragile marine environment, show community support for our shared natural resources, learn about the impacts of marine debris and how we can prevent them, and to have fun. Coastal Cleanup Day is also the kick-off event for Coastweeks-three weeks of coastal and water-related events for the whole family.


During the 2015 California Coastal Cleanup Day at Drakes Beach, the Marin MPA Watch team (a program coordinated by Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, California Academy of Sciences, and Point Reyes National Seashore) exhibited their Marine Debris Art Projects, created totally from trash collected off of Drakes Beach in June, July and August of 2015. The art projects were constructed by local community groups, MPA Watch volunteers, and other community members. Some of the artwork is still on display within the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center.

The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan
By Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent, and Daniel Howden, The Independent, Tuesday, 5 February 2008

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Last updated: September 15, 2018

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1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


(415) 464-5100
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