Everything you wanted to know about Fort Bragg’s Glass Beaches
The Other Glass Beaches
About 100 yards south of Glass Beach #3 / MacKerricher State Park is the city’s second dumpsite (Glass Beach #2), used as a landfill from 1943 to 1949. Inaccessible at high tide and undiscovered by most visitors, the sea glass here is ankle deep. The site is nothing short of stunning.
Even farther south on City Property (once part of the Georgia Pacific Lumber Co.) is Glass Beach # 1 (a dump from 1906 to 1943), only accessible by kayak. Those who have actually seen this virgin glass beach say it is knee deep in sea gems.
In the near future, remote Glass Beach #1 will be visible from a new coastal trail scheduled to open in 2012. Once the trail is open, accessibility from the cliffs will also be a possibility, if not hazardous going. In any case, if you find your way here, enjoy the awe-inspiring trove of glass, but leave it for others to discover.
Preserving Sea Glass History
Fort Bragg has two sea glass history exhibits. The first is at the Guest House Museum, the former home of Tom Johnson, Superintendant of the Fort Bragg Lumber Company, located on Main Street in Downtown Fort Bragg. Native Daughters of the Golden West and local historians opened the exhibit in early 2012 as a way to preserve an important part of Fort Bragg history and to offer an alternative to removing glass from our beaches.
The Sea Glass Museum, located about a mile south of Fort Bragg City Limits, has two rooms dedicated to display cases with every size, color and source of sea glass.
Frequently Asked Questions
•May I take the sea glass from Glass Beach?
As we mention above, Glass Beach is now part of MacKerricher State Park. Tim Quandt, supervising ranger for MacKerricher and other Mendocino Area State Parks, told us this when we asked about taking glass: “The truth of the matter is that it is a misdemeanor to remove any artifacts from State Park property. Park rangers have not begun citing offenders…yet, but that day will eventually arrive.
“Rangers are currently working to educate and inform the public, and we confiscate and return collected sea glass to the beach whenever possible. Signage has now been placed on the property to inform visitors of the protected status of the resource and educational and interpretive panels/displays will eventually be placed as well.
“The reason that Glass Beach (#3) has become the least desirable sea glass collecting location is because it has been commercially over-harvested over the years and now the resource has been depleted.
“This is unfortunate, but this is why State Parks has a mission to protect natural, cultural and historical resources…so that they can continue to be present for future generations to enjoy.”
•Is there any glass left?
Yes, plenty. The churning ocean is constantly depositing sea glass on Glass Beach. It a fun place to explore, pick up the glass, look for different colors and just enjoy the area without taking it home.
•Where can I find samples of the many kinds of glass found over the years at the many glass beaches along Fort Bragg’s coast?
The Sea Glass Museum, which is free admission, has beautiful display cases of every color and size of glass to be found on our glass beaches. The museum is located on Highway, just south of Fort Bragg. In addition, the Guest House Museum, operated by the Fort Bragg Historical Society, installed a Glass Beach exhibit in 2012.