Be ‘beach-friendly’ this Fourth of July

State Parks and partners encourage safe, sane, eco-friendly celebrations at ocean beaches

Washington State Parks and community partners on Washington’s ocean beaches are encouraging safe and responsible beach celebrations over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

In 2016, community partners on the Long Beach Peninsula created a “Beach-Friendly Fourth” campaign to help ensure the safety of people and wildlife and the cleanliness of beach areas and wildlife habitat over the holiday. This year, the campaign has expanded to the beaches north and south of Grays Harbor.

Beach-Friendly Fourth partners in Long Beach include the “Not a Ban—a Better Plan” community 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.

South beaches partners include the City of Westport, Grays Harbor County, Surfrider, CoastSavers, Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce and South Beach Regional Fire Authority.

North beaches partners include the City of Ocean Shores, Ocean Shores Fire and Rescue, Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean Shores Police Department, Grays Harbor Fire Districts Seven and Eight and CoastSavers.

State Parks manages 60 miles of ocean beach in the Seashore Conservation Area, partly through ranger staff assigned to state parks along Washington’s ocean beaches.

Humans and their celebrations come and go, but the beaches remain. Photo: Morf Morford

Humans and their celebrations come and go, but the beaches remain. Photo: Morf Morford

State Parks rangers will patrol the beach on July 4, to provide education and enforcement. The Beach-Friendly Fourth partners welcome visitors over the holiday, with the following reminders:

Use existing campgrounds and lodging — it is illegal to camp on the beach.

Respect any 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.

Respect any beach closures to protect wildlife and marine habitat.

Use only legal fireworks; observe fireworks hours over the holiday.

June 28: Noon to 11 p.m.

June 29 to July 3: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

July 4: 9 a.m. to midnight

July 5: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The City of Ocean Shores allows fireworks only July 2 and 3, noon to 11 p.m. and July 4, noon to midnight, and only between Damon Road and Marine View Drive.

Use restrooms. Please do not use dunes as a bathroom.

Respect neighborhoods and private property.

Pack out and appropriately dispose of all garbage.

James Roubal of Washington CoastSavers urges July 4 beach goers to protect our oceans against marine litter pollution by properly disposing of garbage. Extra dumpsters have been made available for convenience.

“Packing out the trash is especially important this July 4,” said Roubal. “High tide is at 2 a.m. July 5, so park staff and volunteers won’t have a chance to clean up before all that garbage is washed out to sea.”

In addition to maintaining the quality of our oceans, Roubal added, “It’s important to  prevent animals from ingesting beach debris and potentially becoming entangled in it.”

A reminder to motorists: Be aware of tides, and don’t park low on the beach. Cars can get stuck in sand, and park staff and volunteers are not equipped to rescue vehicles. Responder agencies will be busy with other Fourth of July duties. A high volume of people and vehicles on the beach July Fourth can thwart motorists trying to move their vehicles.

Visitor information is available through:

The Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau at (360) 642-2400 or  https://www.visitlongbeachpeninsula.com/

The Ocean Shores Visitor Center (360 289-2451 or https://tourismoceanshores.com/

The Westport Chamber of Commerce (360) 268-9422 or http://www.westportgrayland-chamber.org/

– Washington State Parks

Editor’s note: Fireworks are banned in Ruston and Tacoma; see here for other Pierce County locations: https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/3893/Fireworks