Forty-eight local volunteers took part in a statewide effort to clean up the coast Saturday, removing shopping carts, trash, mattresses and other debris from alongside Elk Creek, near South Beach and Pebble Beach.
Though he didn’t know exactly how much in pounds was removed from these locations yet, Grant Werschkull, co-executive director of the Smith River Alliance, said he was happy with the turnout. Werschkull and other volunteers with the Smith River Alliance as well as Grace Lutheran Church focused on removing debris from homeless encampments on the south side of Elk Creek.
Werschkull had special praise for Grace Lutheran Church.
“They really turned some people out and did a great job,” he said Monday.
The Smith River Alliance orchestrated Saturday’s cleanup with help from other organizations including Take A Bite out of Blight, the Surfrider Foundation and Elk Valley Rancheria.
Volunteers with Take A Bite out of Blight focused on an area south of the Crescent City Harbor known as the wedge. They removed camp chairs, tarps and other items left behind by transients. Take A Bite out of Blight volunteers also removed nine shopping carts from an area on the east side of U.S. 101 near the Crescent City Harbor.
Other volunteers went with Dan Burgess, who is part of the SRA’s Elk Creek Stewardship Project, to clean up trash on the Elk Creek Nature Trail, an overgrown trail at what was once Hobbs-Wall & Co. lumber mill.
Statewide more than 53,000 volunteers picked up 698,931 pounds of trash and 35,674 pounds of recyclable materials, according to a press release from the California Coastal Commission. According to the press release, the most unusual items picked up include a painting of a marsh found in a marsh in Marin County. A volunteer in Los Angeles County found a Coca-Cola can from 1963, according to the press release.
In addition to picking up trash in 55 out of California’s 58 counties, volunteers also held cleanups as far inland as Lake Tahoe, according to the press release. California’s event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by the Ocean Conservancy, according to the press release.
Other organizations sponsoring the local cleanup effort include the Trash Dogs and the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority. Businesses that sponsored the cleanup include Crescent City Ace Hardware, Kokatat, Rumiano Cheese Company, Home Depot, Wildberries Marketplace and Hambro WSG. Funds from the Whale Tail License Plate program pay for the cleanups.