Keep Sea Glass Collecting Legal sign now

This petition is for California residents ONLY. If you are from out-of-state, and as this issue affects collectors nationwide, please visit for the out-of-state petition.

This is a petition to the California Bureau of Audits to stop the California Park Rangers from making it illegal to collect sea glass, setting a dangerous precedent nationwide.

A few years ago the head district ranger at the Russian Gulch headquarters, Marilyn Murphy, decided she could protect the dump refuse in MacKerricher State Park by saying it had historical or archeological value and was therefore protected by Resource Code 5097.5.
The glass and pottery shards and other materials they were trying to protect are nearly completely depleted within the park borders and are not archaic, so have no archeological value, and are not historic in that they are just dump refuse from a dump that operated from 1949 until 1967.
Right now if one of the homeless who frequent the beach breaks a bottle and leaves the shards, which they regularly do, a person can not remove the dangerous shards legally, according to the rangers. If one were caught doing the right thing removing the glass shards, the rangers might say it is alright because it is new. Is it alright, then, to take it off the beach in a week? Or a year? Who gets to determine whether a glass shard is too old to take from the beach?
Glass is found on beaches everywhere people live because all ocean communities used to have ocean dumps. Roman sea glass is even found in the Mediterranean and everywhere it is considered discarded material, refuse free for the taking, unless it is part of an actual archeological site.
Glass that is found on the beach is called sea glass and some of the pieces are gem quality. There is a large sea glass industry nationwide that depends on the freedom of people to collect the glass freely off the nations beaches. There are also vast numbers of collectors who do not engage in commercial activity and several sea glass associations and communities that hold regular festivals nationwide.
Allowing the park rangers to set a precedent here by saying it is of historical or archeological value would severely injure the sea glass industry and disappoint collectors nationwide.
The rangers here and the main office in Sacramento have been contacted regarding this and they insist on standing on Resource Code 5097.5.
Further aggravating the situation is that the rangers are discouraging tourists from coming to the area if they want to collect sea glass by telling them it is not permitted here without telling them the vast majority of the collectible glass is outside the park borders. They also refuse to admit that the park ends at the mean high water mark as per Article 10 of the state constitution.
Individuals have complained to the author of this petition that the rangers have told them they had to dump out any glass they have collected without ascertaining whether the glass was collected within or without the park.
The Fort Bragg city council, which was also worried about the depletion, is also telling tourists not to come here to collect glass and the chamber of commerce is doing the same. This is all continuing even though the park now contains only a tiny bit of refuse and about 95\% of the sea glass lies outside the park in other old dump sites. Meanwhile the depletion will continue because there are no signs saying the dump refuse can not be removed, and the rangers only make a single pass through the area a day, and everyone who visits leaves with something from the beaches.
Fort Bragg and Mendocino County are heavily reliant on the tourist trade and all these entities are responsible for bringing more tourists here, not keeping them away, the sea glass is a big draw, and all of this is being made possible by the actions of the park rangers.
We ask the Bureau of Audits to stop the rangers from trying to apply Resource Code 5097.5 to the dump refuse and sea glass in MacKerricher State Park or anywhere else.

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