Fort Bragg is in the middle of the Coastal Hwy in Mendocino County, and according to the Mendocino Chamber of Commerce, “is the largest city on the Mendocino coast.” The beach was one of three city dump sites beginning in 1906, with this particular site operating from 1949 until 1967 when it was closed. Various clean-up programs removed all of the metals and other items in the dump, but the glass was tumbled and polished by the waves that covered the former dump site. There are actually three glass beach sites in Fort Bragg, with the other two south of “Glass Beach”.
We arrived in Fort Bragg late Friday afternoon and checked in to our inns, then met for dinner. Tracy wasn’t too excited about Fort Bragg as he had visited there before, but Fran and I were eager to see the Glass Beach and the coastline the next day. We drove to Glass Beach State Park around 9 a.m. Fran decided to take a walk south on the Coastal Trail before going down to the beach. When I approached the beach, I noticed that it was too steep for me to get to it. I decided to go north on the Coastal Trail towards Pudding Creek Beach. I was struck by the beauty of the waves crashing against the rocks and the wildflowers along the beach. I walked to the recently restored trestle that had been built by the lumber company and had been a part of the old Ten Mile Railroad.
Fran walked down to the beach, but was disappointed by the number of people picking through the glass and collecting it. The beach itself was not as spectacular-looking as on the brochures because of glass collection (which is prohibited). On our way out of Fort Bragg we stopped at the Sea Glass museum where there were many items made of sea glass. We noted that there were also small bags of colored glass offered for sale to help replenish the glass on the beach!
It is a shame that tourists don’t respect something unique and beautiful so that others can enjoy it later.