Gravina Clean Up
By Jerry Cegelske
August 29, 2007
Work on the Gravina Island Clean Up has continued over the last
two months and a lot of trash has been collected. In July
volunteers collected 8020 pounds of trash from the shores in
two days! Most of the material to be picked up has been
collected. We have to remove some bagged trash in the coming
weeks and then start on the boats. You can tell from the
pictures is that we had nice weather most of the time.
One big item remaining is the wire rope attached to floats, logs
and trees in various areas where timber was stored, or barges
anchored. The wire rope is hazardous as it rusts and leaves
sharp strands sticking out that can easily puncture the skin.
Several people can attest to this fact and I am one of them!
There are still tons of wire rope to remove from logs, floats,
trees and the beach. We found a stump with a section of
wire rope wrapped around it many years before when it was a tree
and had started to grow around the wire rope. We removed
wire rope from several trees that were growing around the rope
and were apparently used to anchor barges or log rafts.
Some trees and branches were growing around nylon rope people
had tied things to as well. There are several sections
of wire rope that are 2 inches in diameter and difficult to move.
Several large wire rope sections are about 100 feet or more in
A boat at high tide
Another boat at high
It has been interesting to see some of the things we observed
on Gravina. I don't know how some of the material ends
up on the island but the mattress remains were unusual.
The springs were coming out of the cloth pockets and scattered
on the beach. One volunteer collected a traffic cone or
marker, one of the 4 foot types used on Tongass. It looked
fairly new and made me wonder if someone intentionally threw
it in the water. They also took home several other items
they collected during the day. One volunteer found a hard
sided case for glasses only to find a pot pipe inside!
There was one section of beach that had a lot of heavy nylon
line or hawser which was probably 4 inches in diameter, also
tied to a group of trees. In that one section we probably
collected a thousand pounds of large rope, from 4" to <
Several weeks before an article about bottled water came out in Sitnews,
we were collecting trash on the beach just North of the airport
buildings and much of it was plastic soda, juice and water bottles.
They float up into the rocks and grass line and are difficult
to find and retrieve. One of the disturbing things to see
was life jackets that were partially hidden in the grass or near
the treeline. We collected batteries, wood stove parts,
tin roofing, boat gauges, electronics, sleeping bags, swim suits,
coats, baby pacifiers, refrigerators, a cruet, plates, toilets,
boom chains and just about anything else you can think of.
All the volunteers stated that they thought it was a rewarding
experience. In working in some of the areas you could get
a sense of what the logging industry was like by looking at the
stumps that are lying on the beach. Some of them had cuts
taken out of them before it was decided they were too large to
work with. Several sections of tree were about 8 feet in
diameter or greater with saw cuts in them. It made you
wonder how old they were and how they got them cut down.
If someone wants to establish a tourist business relating to
logging, Gravina is the place to start!
One day when we had finished picking up trash and were going
to look at the remaining section to be cleaned up, we observed
a boat on the beach with teenagers swimming and playing around.
We got to it the next day and found it to be a very nice beach,
and that they had left trash for us to pick up. The beach covers
180 degrees North to South, is over 150 yards long, and is well
protected on a low tide. We cleaned the mattress springs
and other trash from the area so it should be fit to use.
There is a greater area of gravel to use than at Buggy or Rotary
One down note is that some of the areas were starting to get
cluttered with new debris after we had cleaned them, but it will
take a long time to equal the debris that we have removed. We
intend to go over the beach once again in the Spring to see what
has been missed in the vegetation and recently floated in. Hopefully
people will dispose of their trash in a responsible manner and
we won't find much.
KGB Code Enforcement Officer
A stump with wire rope around it.
A nice beach on Gravina Island
This is the remains of a mattress, the coil springs were scattered
around the area.
A small part of the tire collection
Received August 28, 2007 -
Published August 29, 2007
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