Litter free by the sea: ‘Great Island Cleanup’ Round 4

Marine debris amassed from Henry Island in 2013 includes Styrofoam, fuel cans, fishing nets, shotgun shells, coolers.   - Contributed photo / Land Bank
Marine debris amassed from Henry Island in 2013 includes Styrofoam, fuel cans, fishing nets, shotgun shells, coolers.
— image credit: Contributed photo / Land Bank

The good news is that it works.

But the sobering reality? No matter how much discarded debris is swept up as part of San Juan Island’s annual community wide spring cleaning event, aka the Great Island Cleanup, there’s more work to be done each time a new season rolls around.

Consider the numbers:

A year ago, the GIC brigade corralled, collected and disposed of more than 3,600 pounds of garbage from roughly 45 miles of roadways and a couple of beaches. That’s nearly two tons of trash.Ravenhill Construction

The year before, GIC’s team of 200-plus volunteers swept up about 2,000 pounds. And the year before that? The total exceeded more than two tons, nearly 5,000 pounds of just about every kind of litter imaginable.

“… sadly, our refuse continues to end up as litter,” GIC coordinator Lori Stokes said. “Thoughtless tossing of bottles, cans, food wrappers or cigarette butts, accidental ‘blowing away’ of debris from unsecured loads on boats and trucks, or deliberate dumping of tires, etcetera, all contribute to the need to make litter pickup an ongoing effort.”

That effort gets under way April 5, beginning at 9 a.m. Mark your calendar because that’s weeks earlier than in prior years. (If a different date works better, you can drop off litter at the Sutton Road transfer station during business hours for free; identify yourself as a “litter-picker-upper”).

Stillpoint SchoolAs in the past, the Great Island Cleanup is a collaboration that brings together volunteers, non-profits and civic groups, local businesses and public agencies, namely San Juan County and the Town of Friday Harbor. San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce will have free pickup bags at its Spring Street headquarters.

Orcas Island is getting into the spring cleaning spirit as well, sponsoring a Great Island of its own this year (contact Kira Bradshaw, 318-6041).

To coordinate with the GIC steering committee or for more information, contact David Dehlendorf (roadways), 378-1082,; Jana Marks (beaches), 378-2319,

San Juan Sanitation will pick up trash at several locations; see box at left.


Drop-off sites:

Frontier Lumber, Spring Street, across from Friday Harbor Suites.

Parking area at South Beach.

These intersections: Roche Harbor/West Valley; Mitchell Bay/Westside; Beaverton Valley/Egg Lake; Bailer Hill/Douglas roads.

Drop off trash at any location above by 1:30 p.m.


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 26
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates