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Glass Beach at Fort Bragg in California

Glass Beach is an unusual beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California that is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage by the residents near the coastline. Glass Beach is a unique beach, not because it was made by man, but because of the way nature has reclaimed a garbage dump, and how time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man's mistakes.

Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. Fort Bragg residents threw whatever household garbage they had over the cliffs above and into what is now Glass Beach. They discarded lot of glass, appliances, and even cars. By the early sixties, some attempts were made to control what was dumped, and dumping of any toxic items was banned. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and closed the area.

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Now, over 30 years later, nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding waves have cleansed the beach, wearing down the discarded glass into the small, smooth, colored trinkets that cover the beach today. You'll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you'll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun.

In 2002, the California State Park system purchased the 38-acre Glass Beach property, and after cleanup it was incorporated into MacKerricher State Park. The area is now frequently visited by tourists. Though not officially permitted, many still scour the beach for interesting curios and glass to take home as souvenirs.

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Sources: 1, 2

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