California Coastal beaches and public parks are experiencing rises in visitation year over year as important outlets for mental and physical health. Over 10 million people annually visit the California coastline and adjacent communities across Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. Even more staggering, over 55,000 pounds of trash were picked up from the sensitive coastal environment across the three counties in 2021 alone.
In June 2022, Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties launched a coordinated initiative to develop visitor education and outreach to reduce the amount of litter and waste in coastal regions and watersheds through a three-county memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the nonprofit Leave No Trace. The partnership included coordination with federal and state agencies, federally recognized tribes and non-federally recognized tribes, local jurisdictions and land managers, Sonoma County Tourism, and other community-based groups across all three counties.
Throughout the remainder of 2022, the four partners and a dedicated working group of individuals developed the initiative’s two foundational resources: bilingual Leave No Trace coastal visitation messaging and a five-year strategic framework establishing outcomes, measurables and activations to reach the visiting public with Leave No Trace practices.
The working group recognized the importance of Leave No Trace practices and saw the new initiative as a central hub for local county activities aimed at safeguarding coastal environments and communities. Cleaner California Coast was officially launched in June 2023.
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