Public education campaign focuses on safety and preservation of ocean beach Seashore Conservation Area
OLYMPIA – June 7, 2016 – Private citizens, community groups and local and state government agencies are working together to encourage safe and responsible celebrations on Long Beach Peninsula and other Washington beaches over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
The “Beach-Friendly Fourth” campaign is intended to help ensure the safety of people and wildlife, as well as the cleanliness of beach areas and wildlife habitat during and after the holiday.
The Beach-Friendly Partners welcome visitors over the holiday, with the following reminders:
- Use existing campgrounds and lodgings – it’s illegal to camp on the beach.
- Respect burn bans – if no ban is in place, fires must be 100 feet from dunes and vegetation and no larger than 4 feet by 4 feet.
- Use only legal fireworks, and observe legal fireworks hours – 9 a.m. to midnight July 4.
- Respect neighborhoods and private property.
- Drive safely on the beach, and be aware of tides.
- Use restrooms, not dunes.
- Pick up all garbage – pack it in, pack it out.
For years, many thousands of visitors have ventured to the Long Beach Peninsula to enjoy the national holiday. Conditions in summer of 2015—including very hot inland temperatures, the holiday falling on a Saturday and wholesale bans of fireworks in various Oregon and Washington communities— resulted in an estimated 100,000 people to the area. Many illegally camped on the beach, built beach bonfires during a statewide burn ban, engaged in rowdy behavior and left tons of trash behind. Parking issues, large noisy parties and illegal fireworks affected residential areas.
As concern mounted, local citizens organized into a group called, “Not a Ban – A Better Plan.” They surveyed community concerns and held community meetings joined by State Parks and other organizations.
Beach Friendly Partners include the Better Plan group, the City of Long Beach, Pacific County Sheriff’s Department, Grass Roots Garbage Gang, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pacific County, the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau, the Ocean Park Area Chamber of Commerce and Washington State Parks, which manages the 60 miles of ocean beach in the Seashore Conservation Area, partly through ranger staff assigned to state parks along the ocean beach.
“The first thing was to get everyone together so that we could identify the major concerns and formulate a plan,” said Bonnie Lou Cozby of the Better Plan group. “Information through consistent messaging was an obvious first step. Responsible tourism needs to come into play. Providing clear expectations regarding behavior, along with information on the existing regulations, allows visitors and residents to self-regulate, which makes everyone happier. Working together to protect what draws people here and providing resources to help with safety ensures a better future.”
Andi Day, director of the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau, said business owners and residents alike are focused on improving the situation. “We want visitors to come and enjoy all the Peninsula has to offer without damaging the ocean beach or negatively impacting our residential neighborhoods, other visitors, pets and wildlife, business owners and the environment. The Visitors Bureau is in place to distribute and broadcast information. We are already on task.”
Additional signage, posters and visitor information is available around the community and at beach entrances. Washington State Parks is freeing up some resources to produce informational materials, increase staff hours on the beach during the holiday weekend and help with cleanup costs. The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement are putting resources into the effort as well.
“We are very hopeful that we’re going to make a difference with this campaign this year at Long Beach Peninsula and hope that the message also gets out to people who visit the other ocean beach areas,” said Washington State Parks Southwest Region Manager Matt Niles. “This is a great example of how a committed and passionate community, working together with local and state government, can really get some traction toward solving a problem.”
“When we look at all the logos on our communications materials, we feel very proud of our efforts,” said Magen Michaud of the Better Plan community group. “We are all working together on something that will benefit our community and our visitors. We are realistic and know it may take more than one year, but we are convinced that with the public’s partnership, we can have a safer and still wonderful holiday on the Peninsula.”
About the Long Beach Peninsula
With its mix of great restaurants, ultra-fresh seafood, welcoming lodging, delightful festivals, unique museums, lighthouses, trails, state and national parks and a 28-mile long silver-sand beach, the Long Beach Peninsula is one of the Northwest’s most enjoyable and refreshing destinations. Located two hours from Portland and three from Greater Seattle, the Peninsula is a longtime favorite for those seeking relaxation in welcoming communities, recreation in easily accessible nature and rejuvenation in wide-open spaces. Visitor information is available through the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau at (360) 642-2400 or online at www.funbeach.com.
_________________________________________________________________________________ About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
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Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.
Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
Virginia Painter, State Parks, (360) 902-8562
Carol Zahorsky, Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau, (360) 481-1752
Magen Michaud, Better Plan group, (425) 442-7009
Bonnie Lou Cozby, Better Plan group, (360) 665-6041
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388