Smith River Alliance partnered with the Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation and Tolowa Dune Stewards to participate in one of the largest volunteer events in California, California Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 17.

The cleanup event focused in two areas, a northern county cleanup event organized by Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation and Tolowa Dunes Stewards along the Smith River Beach and a second event organized by Smith River Alliance in Crescent City.

Approximately sixty community volunteers helped out across Del Norte County, gathering 6,500 pounds of trash and recycling during the three-hour event, surpassing the 2020 cleanup amount of 4,040 pounds. A charred bicycle, metal shelving, shopping carts and construction supplies were some of the many items found during the day.

“I am grateful and amazed by the number of people that participate in our community cleanups along the coast,” said Gustavo Vasquez, Program Associate with Smith River Alliance. “The majority of the trash we collected could have found its way into Elk Creek and the Pacific Ocean, harming local wildlife, birds, and the of aquatic species found in the ocean.

The cleanup events in Del Norte are part of a larger Coastal Clean-up Day which had over seven-hundred different sites where volunteers convene to take care of the California Coast. Roughly 27,185 people volunteered state-wide, collecting an estimated 250,563 pounds of trash and recycling.

Read the entire press release by the California Coastal Commission here.

“We acknowledge the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority for waiving trash fees for the trash and recycling collected on California Coastal Cleanup Day,” said Grant Werschkull, Co-Executive Director for the Smith River Alliance. “A special thanks to the outstanding volunteers who participated. Their enthusiasm and commitment to the work is inspiring,” added Werschkull.

Other Coastal Cleanup partners include the Whale Tail Grants Program, Schmidt’s House of Jambalaya, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and California Department of Parks and Recreation.

For interested businesses, organizations, and individuals, the California Adopt-A-Beach Program provides an ongoing opportunity for beach and coastal cleanup throughout the year.

To learn more about the Adopt-a Beach opportunities in Del Norte including how to participate in other outdoor volunteer activities, contact Gustavo Vasquez at