September 26, 2019

The 4th Annual Outer Cape Beach Clean Up, conducted Friday, September 19 through Monday, September 23, was a four-day, 27-mile marathon community event organized by Anthony Daley of Dennis and supported by the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown and the National Park Service.

Volunteers set out from Coast Guard Beach in Eastham on Day 1; Lecount Hollow Beach on Day 2; Ballston Beach (pictured) on Day 3; and High Head on Day 4, cleaning 7-8 miles of beach each day and finally terminating at Race Point in Provincetown. Fourteen volunteers joined the effort overall, most participating for one or two days, with Daley, Tom Kennedy and Laura Ludwig, manager of Derelict Fishing Gear Recovery efforts at CCS, hiking the full route. Daley and Kennedy fully immersed in the experience and camped out each night.

Debris was collected in 5-gallon pails and then consolidated into 42-gallon heavy contractor bags along the route. A GPS coordinate for each cache was noted on Google Maps, and the positions were communicated to Cape Cod National Seashore rangers who later drove the oversand route to collect the bags, lobster traps, barrels and other bulky waste. All debris will be inventoried by volunteers and disposed of properly.

Among the 40+ bags and barrels of collected debris were thousands of Styrofoam pieces; hundreds of balloons and strings; dozens of storm-battered lobster traps and other fishing gear (gillnets, lead line, dragger nets, monofilament, lures, buoys, bait bags, lobster trap ID tags, wire and wood trap parts, etc.); a bucket’s worth of light bulbs; and 5 Hooksett disks, filtration devices inadvertently released from a water treatment plant in New Hampshire in 2011. The weight of the bagged debris alone was over 790 pounds. A full tally of items and total weight of debris removed will be announced once the inventory is completed later in the year.

Daley confirmed that “The clean up has been more and more successful in removing debris each and every year. I am hoping to make a more substantial impact with a larger group of people this year and each following year.”

Materials and supplies for the clean up were donated by Home Depot and Trader Joe’s of Hyannis, and Ace Hardware of Yarmouth. Rob Kennedy of Yarmouthport made a donation toward the event, and the Squealing Pig in Provincetown generously donated dinner to the four volunteers closing out the trek on Monday night.

For more information about this annual beach debris clean up odyssey, or to assist with the inventory in October, please contact Anthony Daley or Laura Ludwig.

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