Volunteers clear Tribal beaches of trash and debris

By Lisa Pemberton, Puyallup Tribal News Editor

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians partnered with Citizens for a Healthy Bay and the Port of Tacoma on Jan. 18 for a community beach cleanup at the Canoe Landing site and other locations along Marine View Drive.

The four-hour event was a day of service project in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

From left: Khadijah Tividad, a Clean Water Educator with Citizens for a Healthy Bay, poses with Puyallup Tribal Member and Land Use Planner Jennifer Keating during the beach cleanup event.

Volunteers masked up and spread out along the shoreline from the Tribe’s Outer Hylebos habitat restoration site to the Port of Tacoma’s Dick Gilmur Kayak Launch.

“The beaches down there are in a truly sad state,” said Puyallup Tribal Member and Land Use Planner Jennifer Keating. “They’re littered in Styrofoam that ends up in our waterways and consumed by marine life.”

She said she’s excited to work with the Tribe’s Sustainability Working Group to coordinate a Tribal community beach cleanup event this spring.

After four hours, volunteers collected enough trash and debris to fill up two dumpsters, according to the Port of Tacoma.

What looks like shell debris is actually plastic foam, which covers the entire length of the beach’s high tide mark on Jan. 18.

“During the outing, we were rewarded with close-up views of sea lions swimming by and red-tailed hawks overhead—almost as a ‘thank you’ for all the hard work!” the Port posted on Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Keating