About

Create a cleaner and healthier California coast by practicing Leave No Trace

There is no place on Earth like the California coast. Whether this is your hundredth visit or your first time (welcome!), you are bound to experience something incredible. You may not realize this, but you are essential to protecting this unique place.

When we visit coastal areas, we often don’t come empty-handed. All of our single-use trash items add up very quickly. Each year, tens of thousands of pounds of litter are left behind on the California coastline, causing dire ecological damage.

By practicing Leave No Trace we all benefit from:

  • Healthier coastal ecosystems and wildlife
  • Vibrant wildlife on land and sea
  • More enjoyable outdoor spaces for everyone to share 

The Cleaner California Coast initiative is managed by the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) in partnership with Leave No Trace, Marin County Parks, Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Regional Parks, California State Parks, the National Park Service, federally and non-federally recognized tribes, Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Visit Mendocino.

We Need Your Help

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Practicing Leave No Trace in Coastal Communities

Know Before You Go

Any time you repack foods or liquids into reusable containers, you are reducing litter along the coastline.

Not all areas along the coast have trash cans. Bring along an easy-to-carry bag and safely pack out all your trash, until you find an available trash, recycling or compost can.

Trash, recycling and compost cans across all three counties look different! The colors of trash, recycling and compost cans may be different across all three counties. Look for labels and read signage. 

Trash Your Trash

Trash hurts wildlife, adds plastic into the ecosystem and contaminates the coastal environment. Pack out everything you bring with you and consider picking up other litter to leave the place better than you found it.

Litter from overflowing trash, recycling or compost cans can be dangerous for wildlife and may be blown away by the wind. If a trash can is full, don’t add to the problem. Take your trash with you until you are able to dispose of it properly – which means taking it home with you.

  • Discarded fishing line and hooks cause unnecessary harm to birds and other aquatic animals. An accidentally swallowed fishing hook can lead to suffering and death.

What To Do With Poop

Human waste contaminates the outdoors. Going to the bathroom on the beach or by the side of the road or trail can result in unsanitary conditions and possible area closures.

Carry the diaper to the nearest available trash can. Not only does human waste pollute the environment, it may take up to 450 years for disposable diapers to decompose.

Pick up pet waste and dispose of it in a trash can. Compared to waste from wildlife or grazing animals, pet waste contains harmful bacteria that pollutes the natural environment and may cause illness.

Be Considerate of Coastal Communities

If cans in parks are overflowing, take your trash all the way home with you. Waste services in coastal communities are not equipped to support trash, recycling and compost deposited by visitors who are passing through town.

Some coastal towns and rural areas may not have readily available public restrooms.

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Spread The Word

Digital spaces are an effective way to reach visitors. If you can, fill out the form, download the toolkit, and share with those you get outdoors with.

Practicing Leave No Trace in Coast Communities

Know Before Your Go

Bring fewer single-use items with you

 Any time you repack foods or liquids into reusable containers, you are reducing litter along the coastline.

Be prepared to carry out your trash

Not all areas along the coast have trash cans. Bring along an easy-to-carry bag and safely pack out all your trash, until you find an available trash, recycling or compost can. 

Can Considerations: Know Before You Throw

Trash, recycling and compost cans across all three counties look different! The colors of trash, recycling and compost cans may be different across all three counties. Look for labels and read signage.

Trash Your Trash

Pack it in, pack it out

Trash hurts wildlife, adds plastic into the ecosystem and contaminates the coastal environment. Pack out everything you bring with you and consider picking up other litter to leave the place better than you found it.

If a can is full, pack it, don’t stack it

Litter from overflowing trash, recycling or compost cans can be dangerous for wildlife and may be blown away by the wind. If a trash can is full, don’t add to the problem. Take your trash with you until you are able to dispose of it properly – which means taking it home with you.

Protect wildlife by packing out all fishing lines and hooks

Discarded fishing line and hooks cause unnecessary harm to birds and other aquatic animals. An accidentally swallowed fishing hook can lead to suffering and death.

What To Do With Poop

When you have to go, use a restroom

Human waste contaminates the outdoors. Going to the bathroom on the beach or by the side of the road or trail can result in unsanitary conditions and possible area closures.

Have a plan to dispose of diapers

Carry the diaper to the nearest available trash can. Not only does human waste pollute the environment, it may take up to 450 years for disposable diapers to decompose.

Dispose of Pet Waste Responsibly

Pick up pet waste and dispose of it in a trash can. Compared to waste from wildlife or grazing animals, pet waste contains harmful bacteria that pollutes the natural environment and may cause illness.

Be Considerate of Coastal Communities

Help reduce the trash burden in coastal towns

If cans in parks are overflowing, take your trash all the way home with you. Waste services in coastal communities are not equipped to support trash, recycling and compost deposited by visitors who are passing through town.

Take the opportunity to use available restrooms when you can

Some coastal towns and rural areas may not have readily available public restrooms.

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Want to learn even more?

Take the Leave No Trace 101 Course to gain the foundational skills and concepts that protect any ecosystem, including the coast.

Start 101 Course
Engage

Explore the Counties

Want to learn more? Look at some resources and programs happening across founding partners Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino Counties.

Partners

It takes a village

Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties and the Leave No Trace organization have launched this coordinated campaign to provide visitor education and outreach to reduce the negative visitation impacts in coastal environments and communities across the three counties.

Join Us

Want to learn more? Better yet, want to do more? Fill out the form below and let’s talk.