Although things like these rarely happen, nature can sometimes show us that what people do wrong can be made right. This is a story about one of a couple of places in the world where after a decade or so nature turned people’s wrong decisions into a tourist attraction. During the middle of the last century, people of the little town of Fort Bragg on the Californian coast developed an inappropriate, but at that time acceptable, habit of dumping their trash into the ocean beneath the cliffs at the edge of the city. The location was dubbed “The Dump” and was accepted as public garbage heap and town dump. Besides everyday waste, which included significant amount of glass, people dumped old cars, broken appliances and other garbage. At the beginning of the 1960s, local government started thinking green and (for starters) banned dumping toxic waste. Several years later, in 1967 to be precise, members of the North Coast Water Quality Board realized that it had been a mistake to permit such waste disposal for so many years and they banned it. The dump was relocated to a place far enough from the ocean.
Little did people from Fort Bragg, accustomed to the inappropriate dumping, think that nature itself will turn their bad habit and obvious mistake into a good thing and that fifty years later the location will become a nature park, a dream beach and a real tourist attraction.
Following the waste disposal ban, old cars and other garbage have been removed. However, bottles left behind after years of dumping – actually pieces of broken glass that were once bottles of beer and other drinks – were shaped and turned into round glass stones by the sea, the waves and the currents. Millions of white, brown and green glass jewels that have the shape of the usual round stone now cover the entire beach that was once a dump. This surreal and beautiful place is called Glass Beach.
Just when the old dump morphed into a dream beach, and the curious tourists began taking unusual glass “stones” as souvenirs, the area was declared a nature park so that visitors can now only enjoy swimming in what once was a dump, and taking glass stones is strictly forbidden.
Apart from Fort Bragg, similar phenomena where trash morphed into a beach can be seen in another Californian town of Benicia, in Guantanamo Bay and in the little town of Hanapepe in Hawaii.