Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

Clear the Coast 2017

July 19, 2017

Well, we'd hoped that this year would see significant government funding directed to marine debris removal, considering how much attention we've drawn to the issue, but not yet. Our plans for 2017 are accordingly a lot more modest and still in development, but we will be back out on Vancouver Island's West Coast to remove plastic debris before it becomes food for marine life.  Please read on if you're interested in volunteering this year!

Our thanks go out to the Sitka Foundation, Nachiko Yokota and the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund's Public Conservation Assistance Fund, as well as our faithful supporters, for the funding that will enable us to work on the coast this year. It's beginning to look as if we'll have a long list of companies and individuals to thank for in-kind donations, too: we've been gratefully receiving offers of help almost daily.

This year, we hope to get to more beaches than ever before, and involve more volunteers than in past years, too.  It’s looking good so far, although we’re still hoping to find more funding to remove all that debris at the end of the summer—with so many collection points, we estimate that we’ll need two days of helicopter time at about $14,000 per day!

panorama at Raft Cove

Cape Palmerston to Grant Bay

We’re making progress with the debris collection already.  Our summer student, Maggie Dietterle, has been leading trips to the beaches with nearby road access, from Cape Palmerston down to Grant Bay.  She’ll be hitting Hecht Beach starting July 28 and would welcome help.  Send her an email at mdietterle at if you’d like to join us for a day or two.

The North Coast Trail and Cape Scott Trail

collection bags on the beach

Notice to all hikers headed for these trails in Cape Scott Provincial Park on the Island’s iconic north and west coasts:  have an eye out for our large, white collection bags at trailheads and campsites and if you can, spend some time pitching in!  With the help of Port Hardy Water Taxi and 43K Wilderness Solutions (both of whom work regularly in the Park), we’re getting some collection bags placed on the trails.  Please leave nothing but plastic marine debris in them. Glass and metal debris just doesn’t cause the environmental damage that plastic does; and it’s expensive (heavy) to remove.

Guise Bay, Cape Scott

Volunteers looking for a more intensive experience might want to join us in August, when we’ll be heading to those same beaches to prepare the bags for heli-lifting. We’ll be leading expeditions from Port Hardy to a number of different beaches along these trails, including the enormously popular sandy beaches at Nels Bight, Experiment Bight and Guise Bay. These will most likely be 2-3 day trips ex Port Hardy, in the latter part of August.  Contact Rob O’Dea at rodea at for more details.

Sea Otter Cove and environs

Guise Bay, Cape Scott

An intrepid volunteer, Joe Stone, left Salt Spring Island on his sailboat last week, headed for our usual moorings in Sea Otter Cove where he’ll spend the rest of the summer bagging debris and buttonholing volunteers to help!  We’ll join him in late August aboard Karen’s sailboat Viajador, to lend a hand.  There is room for a few volunteers to join this trip at Port Hardy; we expect to be out for about a week.  Anyone volunteering for this trip should be aware that the dates will be subject to weather delays:  we take no chances with the weather when we round Cape Scott!  Contact Karen Wristen at kwristen at for details.

Wherever you enjoy the ocean this summer, we hope you’ll be bringing reusable plastics only. Start your own ‘refuse’ campaign with the 4 easiest-to-refuse single-use plastics: straws, coffee cup lids, single-use beverage bottles and shopping bags.