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If you happen to be driving along Northern California's Mendocino coast, you will come across a very unusual stretch of coastline - One where the shimmer comes not from the pure-white sand but pieces of glass - Welcome to Fort Bragg's man-made Glass Beach!
However, this sparkly beach where colorful glass pebbles have replaced the sand, is not the work of some genius artist but nature's big-hearted way of correcting careless polluting habits by human beings.
The history of this unique beach goes all the way back to 1949, when believe it or not, the area was officially designated a public dump. This meant that the locals could throw all kinds of things here ranging from normal household trash to even old cars - Amongst all this of course, was a lot of glass.
This practice continued until 1967, when officials at the North Coast Water Quality Board finally seemed to realize that polluting the pristine beach was not such a great idea. They not only moved the official dump somewhere else, but also, shut down the area of the beach hoping, that nature would heal this colossal human mistake.
And that's exactly what happened. For 30 years, the waves pounded on the accumulated trash, assimilating some and breaking and molding the glass into tiny smoothly rounded pebbles and tossing it back to the beach.
In 2002, the 38-acre area was bought by the California State Park System, cleaned up and opened to the public, as part of the MacKerricher State Park. Today, Glass Beach is a popular destination for both locals and tourists not only because of its unusual 'sand', but also, because of its array of tide pools, that house Crabs, mollusks and many interesting aquatic plants.
Resources: amusingplanet.com, fortbragg.com