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People of Ketchikan

Volunteers Cleanup Black Sands
Story & Photos by Chris Wilhelm


May 09, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - Twenty-four people and Molly the dog came out on Mother's Day Sunday for the annual Black Sands beach cleanup. Transportation for the crew was provided by Gigi Pilcher's Awesome Adventures of Alaska aboard the M/V Mayflower Star. The weather was spectacular, reaching 70 degrees and with no wind the afternoon became a memorable one. Over twenty bags of beach trash, several automobile tires with rims, and even a plastic fish tote were hauled off the beach.

jpg Volunteers


One highlight of the trip was on the way out. At Pilcher's direction, Captain Don DeVore steered the Mayflower Star through the shallows of Walden Rocks for a little sightseeing. A half dozen seals came out to investigate our progress and captivate the crew. One put on a show of his own, thrusting himself out of the water in a breaching action that perhaps only the seal females could properly interpret. After seeing such an enthusiastic display, one volunteer's remark on the calm waters of Nichols Passage seemed anticlimactic.

The bowlander design of the Mayflower Star allows the pilot to land directly on the beach and remotely lower the landing ramp. Once ashore, all volunteers grabbed yellow bags and fanned out. Though plastics are specifically forbidden to toss in the marine environment by federal law, most of the items found were of plastic construction. Many water and soda bottles, oil quart containers, and similar trash were recovered. A great deal of fishing line and net was found, as well as pieces of styrofoam floatation and net floats.

After about two hours of cleaning, the bags were all stacked together and a nice lunch was had. Volunteers included Melva and Harry Olson, Heidi De Young, Brendan Davis, Joey McKee, Susie McKee, Vicki McKee, Jessica Reveri, Charlotte Tanner, MJ Turek, Donald DeVorg, Steve Oyler, Esme Brundyn, Bobbie McCreary, Susan Walsh, Chris Wilhelm, Gretchen Wilhelm, Matthew Wilhelm, Steven Alvarez, Joey Prows, Emily Moore, and Mayflower Star owner Gigi Pilcher, who donated the boat time for this worthy cleanup of Black Sands Beach.

Thank you to everyone who helped start the summer with cleanup. Ketchikan, your beaches await your enjoyment!


Photo Gallery


Captain Don DeVore and Gigi Pilcher of the Mayflower Star



Boarding Crew...


Lunch break...


Trash collected at Black Sands beach...


Volunteers load trash collected for proper disposal...



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